Harold Vincent arrived at the gun buyback event at the Huntington Manor Fire Department Saturday with a Remington pistol his father had aimed at his mother in a drunken stupor.
He had come home from work as a teenager to see her at gunpoint, lined up against the wall with his eight siblings.
Vincent wrestled the gun from his father and never gave it back. Now 81, Vincent tearfully said he was giving it away for good.
The state attorney general's office collected 109 guns from residents who came to Saturday's buyback event, many of whom shared Vincent's desire to keep firearms from criminals, children or the mentally unstable.
This was the ninth firearm buyback in the state hosted by the office of state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman since September 2013.
The program allows people to turn in their guns anonymously in exchange for compensation paid out on a debit card. Schneiderman said at a news conference Saturday that more than 1,000 guns have been turned in to law enforcement through the program.
"Every day, hundreds of Americans are shot," Schneiderman said. "Many of these are children, often the victims of accidents. We are doing gun buybacks around the state partly because of our understanding that an unsecured gun is an accident waiting to happen."
Twenty-five dollars was given for nonworking or antique firearms, $75 for rifles and shotguns, $100 for handguns and $150 for assault weapons.
About $3,100 was given out to residents on Saturday, according to Schneiderman's office.
Suffolk County and Huntington Town officials said the gun buyback program is one step toward revitalizing the Huntington community, which has seen its share of gun-related violence. In March, Suffolk Police Officer Mark Collins was shot and wounded during a traffic stop in Huntington Station.
"There's no simple solutions to these challenges," Suffolk County Legis. William R. Spencer said at a news conference. "But when we see . . . guns come off the street, and we see the effort every day from our young people with their peace rallies, we're sending a message loud and clear: This is our community, and we are going to be safe."