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Orange County to start two-month gun buyback program Friday

Orange County Executive Edward Diana speaks during a

Orange County Executive Edward Diana speaks during a news conference held expressing the concern that federal funding for repair of the Forge Hill Bridge in New Windsor has not come through a year after it was damaged by Tropical Storm Irene. (Aug. 30, 2012) Photo Credit: Rory Glaeseman

Amid calls for stricter gun control laws and the ongoing debate about gun violence, Orange County Executive Edward Diana announced that the county would start a two-month gun buyback program starting Friday.

"Orange County is committed to reducing gun violence and reducing the injuries and deaths associated with unlawful access to firearms," Diana said Thursday at a news conference in Goshen. "No one can argue against removing unlawful and unwanted guns to prevent them from getting into the wrong hands. I encourage all of our citizens that may be in possession of an illegal or unwanted gun to do the right thing and take advantage of this program."

Through March 18, anyone may turn in illegal or unwanted firearms in exchange for up to $150 in supermarket gift cards. The guns may be brought to the following drop-off locations: the Middletown Police Department on James Street, the Newburgh Police Department on Broadway, the Port Jervis Police Department on Hammond Street or the Orange County Sheriff's Office on Wells Farm Road in Goshen.

Orange County District Attorney Phillips praised the program as "an important part of a larger strategy to deal with gun violence."

"It enables people to lawfully dispose of guns that could otherwise end up in the hands of criminals," Phillips said.

The county conducted gun buyback programs in 2007, when 198 firearms were turned in, and in 2010, when 217 guns were collected.

For more information about the program, named "Save A Life," contact the nearest city police department:

•Middletown at 845-343-3151.

•Newburgh at 845-569-7532.

•Port Jervis at 845-856-5101.

•Or the sheriff's office at 845-291-7900.

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