Suffolk County took in more than 150 guns during a gun buyback Saturday afternoon in an effort to prevent weapons from falling into the hands of criminals.
The buyback at South Country Ambulance Company in East Patchogue brought in 161 guns — including four assault rifles, 80 handguns and 77 rifles or shotguns — from roughly 100 people, officials said.
“That’s a great turnout for a gun buyback,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said.
Whenever firearms can be taken off the streets is a good thing for public safety, Sini said.
“We want these handguns off the streets,” he said.
From 2013 to 2015, more than 400 weapons were turned in to the police department through buybacks, Sini said.
Greg Miglino, chief of the ambulance company, said Saturday’s buyback was so successful that $3,000 had to be raised through private donations during the event to keep up with demand. A total of $5,000 had been budgeted for the event.
Even after the buyback ended people continued to show up and had to be turned away, he said.
Miglino said press coverage along with the police department helping to spread the word were reasons for the high turnout.
He also praised Sini’s efforts to combat gang crime in Brentwood in recent weeks and said the buyback was “one more endeavor” to make the community safer.
“We could think of no better way to spend our money than to try to reduce violence or anything that would result in people getting injured or hurt by firearms,” Miglino said.
Guns that were turned in had to be unloaded and placed in a plastic or paper bag or box, police said.
People were given gift cards in exchange for the weapons — $150 for assault weapons, $100 for handguns, $75 for rifles and shotguns, and $25 for nonworking or antique firearms, police said.
Each person received payment for up to three weapons, police said.