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New Mexico State Police to host second gun buyback in Las Cruces


The New Mexico State Police announced a second gun buyback event in Las Cruces after the first saw dozens of residents turn over guns in exchange for gift cards.

The event is part of a broader effort to address gun violence in New Mexico, although experts and academic studies suggest that gun buybacks are ineffective in doing so.

According to a post on NMSP’s Facebook page on Dec. 28, state police will host four new events across the state on Jan. 6. The buyback in Las Cruces will occur at First Baptist Church at 4201 N. Sonoma Ranch Boulevard. The event starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m.

“People may anonymously hand in unwanted guns and receive Visa gift cards in return. No questions will be asked about who owns the guns or where they came from,” the post read.

Three other events on the same day are set for Albuquerque at Expo New Mexico located at 300 San Pedro, Gate 8 off Louisiana Boulevard; in Farmington at the Harriet B. Simmons Office located at 101 W. Animas Street; and in Española at the Española Annex Building located at 1101 Industrial Park Road.

The post said state police will give out a $100 Visa gift card for handguns and a $200 Visa gift card for rifles and shotguns. Guns can be functional or non-functional, the post read. That’s less money per gun than the first gun buyback event.

 “We are providing people a resource to turn in unwanted guns; helping law enforcement combat violent crimes where guns are used and aiding in the reduction of accidental deaths and suicides. By holding responsible voluntary gun disposal events like this, we can all help make New Mexico safer,” Troy Weisler, Chief of the New Mexico State Police, said in the post announcing the buyback.

The first buyback in Las Cruces netted 31 handguns and 56 rifles, according to NMSP. Across the state, NMSP said residents turned over 279 firearms.

A 2021 study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found “no evidence” that gun buyback programs reduce gun crime. The study examined 335 gun buybacks held from 1991 to 2015 in 277 cities.

“If a gun owner values his/her firearm at more than the city buyback price, perhaps because of its self-defense benefits or its usefulness in facilitating income-generating crime, the firearm will not be sold,” the study stated.

More recent studies published in the Annals of Surgery found that the anonymous nature of gun buyback events makes evaluating their effectiveness difficult. The study found that buybacks can have “a small, improved impact in suicide prevention in older, white males” but “had no effect on interpersonal gun violence or homicides.”