Schenectady County

Albany County to bankroll church’s gun buyback program

Albany County lawmakers are expected to re-allocate $10,000 tonight so a local pastor can continue h
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Albany County lawmakers are expected to re-allocate $10,000 tonight so a local pastor can continue his gun buyback program.

Rev. Charles Muller of Victory Christian Church established a program in May to get guns off the streets of Albany after the shooting death of 10-year old Kathina Thomas. He offered a gift card to Crossgates Mall to anyone who turned in a gun, with no questions asked.

So far, 60 guns have been turned in, but Muller ran out of funds for the program. Albany County legislators decided to help fund the program to reduce gun violence in the city and county.

“Rather than re-invent the wheel, we will allocate the money toward Rev. Muller’s program,” said cegislator Chris Higgins.

The county Legislature approved a handgun buyback program in May that was to be handled by the sheriff’s department and district attorney’s office. The Legislature is expected to pass a resolution tonight that will shift the money to Muller so he can keep his community-based program going.

Higgins said he and his colleagues in the Legislature recognize that gun violence is a serious program in the city and county.

“We have been racking our brains on how we can be proactive rather than reactive,” he said.

Higgins said even if one gun is taken off the streets, it’s one less gun that could cause a senseless death.

Guns can be turned in at Victory Christian Church, 118 Quail St.

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