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Tipsheet

NY Gun Buyback Program Backfires Spectacularly

AP Photo/Eric Gay, File

A man going by the pseudonym “Kem” showed just how useless some of New York state’s efforts to address gun violence truly are when he walked away from a buyback event $21,000 richer. 

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When he heard about people printing ghost guns to make money from buyback programs, he put his $200 3D printer to work. Six hours away in Utica, New York, the State Attorney General’s Office was holding a buyback event at the police department, and Kem brought 110 ghost guns with him. 

It took an entire day of negotiating with the AG’s office staff, but in the end, he walked away with 42 $500 gift cards. 

"I'm sure handing over $21,000 in gift cards to some punk kid after getting a bunch of plastic junk was a rousing success," laughed Kem. "Gun buybacks are a fantastic way of showing, No. 1, that your policies don't work, and, No. 2, you're creating perverse demand. You're causing people to show up to these events and they don't actually reduce crime whatsoever."

The AG’s office, meanwhile, touted the August event’s success.

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that 296 firearms, including 177 ghost guns, were turned in to law enforcement at a gun buyback event hosted by her office and the Utica Police Department. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) accepts — with no questions asked — working and non-working, unloaded firearms in exchange for compensation on site. Yesterday’s event is a part of Attorney General James’ ongoing efforts to combat gun violence and protect New Yorkers throughout the state. To date, Attorney General James has taken more than 3,300 firearms out of communities through gun buyback events and other initiatives since taking office in 2019.

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When confronted about the ghost gun scheme, the AG’s office told NEWSChannel2 they'll change their policies going forward, but did not specify how. 

"One individual’s greedy behavior won’t tarnish our work to promote public safety," the statement said. "We have adjusted our policies to ensure that no one can exploit this program again for personal gain.”

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