The V.I. Police Department hosted a Gun Buy-Back program which paid individuals for turning in their legal or illegal weapons.
The Gun Buy-Back program was Friday, June 10, and Saturday, June 11. Persons were able to turn in their weapons; no questions asked, at the Taxi Association Headquarters. A private donor contributed $10,000 to fund this program.
The program is part of the continuing effort of the department to get illegal weapons off the streets and to allow persons who may have legal weapons to turn them into police.
St. Thomas/St. John Police Chief Rodney F. Querrard Sr. explained the steps to turn in your weapons including safely transporting the gun to the site.
Weapons should be placed in a bag and put into the trunk of your car, he said. Anyone who is unfamiliar with weapons should not try to unload it or tamper with it in anyway. There will be amnesty for persons traveling with weapons as long as they travel a direct route from their home to the drop off point.
Once a person arrived at the site, an officer took possession of their weapon and handed it over to a firearms examiner and a property officer who inspected the weapon and determined the amount of money that was to be paid for the weapon. No questions were asked of the person turning in the weapon.
Police encouraged residents who know of weapons in their home to turn them in as well. Also if residents have a weapon in their home that was previously owned by someone who is deceased or has left the home, they were urged turn it in. Legally registered weapons that are no longer wanted were also surrendered.
The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands acted as third-party fiduciary for the $10,000 Gun Buy-Back fund. Dee Baecher-Brown, the Foundation’s president urged additional donors to come forward and contribute. The program will be held on St. Croix sometime in the coming months.
The program was conceived in 2010 when a private donor approached Virgin Islands Senator Shawn-Michael Malone and suggested the program.
“With the proliferation of illegal guns and weapons stolen from legal owners and used for illegal purposes we are urging all citizens with weapons to turn them in — for the safety of the entire community,” Chief Querrard said.