District 1

BernCo Safe Surrender/Gun Buy-Back Program Continues Feb.23


A pile of gunsThe community will have another opportunity Feb. 23 to participate in the county’s Safe Surrender and Gun Buy-Back Program, which allows people to turn in firearms to authorities - no questions asked - and receive compensation in return.

At the first gun buy-back on Feb. 9, seven assault rifles, 173 handguns and 122 rifles were turned in and $40,000 in VISA gift cards were paid out.

“Bernalillo County has secured an additional $50,000 to fund this second phase of the gun buy-back program and I am pleased that we had such a successful turnout earlier this month,” says program sponsor, Commissioner Debbie O’Malley. “I want everyone to understand that our partnering with Crime Stoppers will ensure complete anonymity to those turning in their guns this Saturday.”

On Saturday, Feb. 23, individuals may bring any unloaded, operational firearms to the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department South Area Command Center, 2039 Isleta Blvd. SW, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.    

During Saturday’s firearms buy-back, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department will be on hand to make sure the guns are in working condition and are not loaded before being surrendered. All weapons will be checked for lost or stolen status, and if applicable will be returned to their rightful owners. All other firearms will be prepared for destruction by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department. Crime Stoppers representatives will be present to ensure complete anonymity.

The following requirements will apply for acceptance to the firearms buy-back program:

Working firearms that are no longer wanted by the owner
Working firearms that have been inherited from a family member which are no longer wanted
Working firearms that have been altered or modified                                                                

Participants will be paid with VISA gift cards if the firearm meets those requirements. The payment for each type of weapons will be:                                                                       

$150 for any working handgun
$100 for any working long gun (rifle or shotgun)
$200 for any working high capacity or assault weapon system. An “assault weapon” shall be any semi-automatic, magazine-fed, military style rifle or carbine

Any non-working weapons, ammunition, or any imitation and/or low-powered air weapons, which are difficult to distinguish from real weapons and therefore pose a danger, may be surrendered for destruction; however, no payment will be made.

The Sheriff's Department is also planning to offer gun safety training classes at all three area command centers in the near future. In addition to the trainings, the sheriff will purchase gun safety locks to be given out free to those who attend the gun safety classes.

The locks will be purchased using money seized from illegal drug trafficking. More information will be available at www.bernco.gov and www.bernalillocountysheriff.com  when training dates and times are confirmed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Safe Surrender: Bernalillo County Gun Buy-Back Program FAQ

Bernalillo County answers frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) about its Safe Surrender Gun Buy-Back Program to take place on Feb. 23, 2013.

1) What is the Gun Buy-Back Program?

This Gun Buy-Back will compensate individuals for the voluntary surrender of firearms, while engaging our community towards a common goal of reducing gun violence. Initiated by County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley, the county is partnering with Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office to collect firearms where individuals can surrender their firearms - no questions asked.

2) What is the date and location?

Feb. 23, 2013: South Area Command Center, 2039 Isleta Blvd. SW

3) What is the time?

The Gun Buy-Back will take place from 9:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.

4) What is the amount per gun?

Here’s what will be compensated:

  • Long guns (rifles or shotguns), $100;
  • Handguns, $150;
  • High capacity or assault weapons (semi-automatic, magazine fed, military style rifle or carbine), $200.

All guns must be unloaded and operational to be accepted for payment.

Ammunition and non-operational weapons may be surrendered for destruction but no payment will be made.

5) Will I be given cash?

Individuals will be compensated with pre-paid VISA cards.

6) Is this a sting? Will the Sheriff’s Office be taking pictures of participants and writing down license plate numbers?

No. The Gun Buy Back is not a sting. It is an anonymous process in which individuals can surrender their weapons, no questions asked. Law enforcement officials will not be taking pictures of participants, nor will they be logging license plate numbers or running ballistic tests on the guns that are turned in.

7) What officials will be monitoring the program on the day of the buy-back?

A Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Officer will be on site during the scheduled dates to determine if the submitted firearm is operational and safely unloaded.

8) Is there a limit to how many firearms I can turn in?

No. However, we reserve the right to limit the amount of funds an individual can receive, regardless of the amount of firearms the individual has surrendered.

9) What happens if I decide to turn in a gun at the gun buy-back, then I decide I want to keep it?

Once a firearm is surrendered at the gun buy-back it becomes property of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department, at which time the firearm will not be returned.

10) What happens if you run out of funds?

The quantity of funds is limited and subject to availability.

11) Will you check for lost or stolen status of the weapons? If so, will you return to owner?

Yes. All weapons will be checked for lost or stolen status. Stolen checks will not be conducted on site and clear “title” to the weapon is not a pre-condition to surrender a weapon. Every effort will be made to return lost and/or stolen firearms to their rightful owners.

12) What will happen to the weapons once they are collected?

All weapons will be checked for lost or stolen status, and if applicable will be returned to their rightful owners. All other firearms will be prepared for destruction by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department. Conversations have taken place to use the scrap metal for a school art project.

13) Can I turn in the gun for someone else?

Yes. The gun buy-back is completely anonymous and no questions will be asked.

14) Who can I contact if I have a gun that I want to turn in after the event?

In the event you are not able to attend the Gun Buy Back event you may contact the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office at (505) 468-7100. However, the Gun Buy-Back event is the only way to receive compensation for the firearm.

15) How is this event being paid for?

Bernalillo County is providing the initial start up funds for up to $50,000 and will be working with Crime Stoppers to secure additional corporate and non-profit program sponsors.

16) Can residents from outside the city turn in their weapons?

Yes. Although the event is specifically geared for residents of Bernalillo County, residency will not be asked upon surrendering of firearms.

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