A gun buyback program in the city spearheaded by an Albany pastor has already maxed out with 10 guns taken in, the pastor said Tuesday.
Now, he’s looking for ways to continue it.
Pastor Charlie Muller of Victory Christian Church had offered $150 gift cards to Crossgates Mall in exchange for handguns. The cards were funded by the church.
A similar effort in Albany has resulted in 80 guns being turned in, Muller has said.
Muller said he plans to turn over the guns to city police this week. In addition to the 10 taken in, he said he couldn’t pay for three others as the funds had run out.
One had already come in as the program started. Two children found a gun in a vacant lot and exchanged it for a gift card.
Another man turned in a gun for another reason.
“He wanted to get rid of it and didn’t want to get in trouble,” Muller said. “I try to keep it as confidential as I can.”
The program followed two other efforts earlier this year in Schenectady, one an amnesty program and another a buyback program, efforts that had mixed results.
That program offered $100 for guns and $500 for information that resulted in the arrest of a person with an illegal gun.
Asked about the city’s program, Muller said he intends to work with Pastor Ted Ward of the Koinoia Christian Ministries in Schenectady to contact police about a possible joint effort.
Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney deferred to police on whether a joint effort could be put together. Police officials could not be reached Tuesday.
But Carney said he believed the word had gotten out about Muller’s program being better than the city’s program, creating better results.
“We certainly have the same goal,” Carney said.
In the meantime, Muller said that anyone wanting to help with the church’s effort can contact him at 857-0726.