Tip line for illegal guns launched

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

Fifty-four long guns were turned in at a gun buyback in Guilderland on Jan 28. Now, Albany County has launched an anonymous tip line to find illegal guns.

ALBANY COUNTY — Albany County has launched an anonymous tip line for illegal guns.

If a call to 518-655-7860 results in a gun seizure, the caller could get a $500 reward.

The tip line will be promoted with ads on buses run by the Capital District Transportation Authority, officials said at a Thursday morning press conference promoting the program.

The tip line is the second part of the four-part Detailed Instruction Supporting COmmunity Violence Education and Reduction, known as DISCOVER, program, which was passed unanimously by the county legislature in November.

On Jan. 28, the program’s first gun buyback was held, in Guilderland. So many guns were handed over — 63 handguns and 54 long guns  — that the Westmere firehouse venue shut down hours ahead of schedule.

“It was far, far beyond expectations,” said Dustin Reidy, the Guilderland county legislator who spearheaded the formation of the new DISCOVER program.

The sheriff’s office handed out $14,000: $50 for an inoperable firearm, $100 for a rifle or long gun, and $200 for a pistol or handgun.

“The sheriff brought $10,000 in these prepaid cash cards — and he went out to get $4,000 more in compensation …,” Reidy told The Enterprise at the time. “The idea that we would go through $14,000 and have to close the event by 1:30, I don’t think anyone was expecting that kind of response.”

More gun-buyback events are to be scheduled, he said.

Another component of the DISCOVER program is free pistol-training courses to be offered by the sheriff’s office to Albany County residents.

“The state went from a four-hour to a 16-hour requirement on the pistol license …,” Reidy said earlier. “There are some pretty big waiting lines on pistol certification and the cost of them has gone way up … You might be paying quite a bit of money.”

He went on, “The sheriff’s goal is to do those certification courses for free and have them done by the sheriff’s department.” Reidy said this would be “politically neutral” and taught by professionals in Albany County that “everyone knows and trusts.”

A final part of the DISCOVER program is to offer, for free, at events throughout the county, such as at gun buybacks, gun-locking mechanisms and instructions about best practices in keeping and storing guns.

“The overall drive here is to help with public safety, help reduce gun violence, and help promote responsible gun ownership,” Reidy concluded.

To receive the cash award from the tip line, residents must call with information regarding a gun they suspect to be illegal. The caller will be given an anonymous identification number and told to call back with that number in two weeks. Police will investigate the tip, get a search warrant if necessary, and seize the weapon. If the weapon has been confirmed to be illegal, the individual will be told how to pick up the award.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

More Guilderland News

  • A Dec. 1 letter to Guilderland Supervisor Peter Barber stated the Altamont Rescue Squad “will be discontinuing providing basic life support emergency medical services” within Guilderland and portions of Knox. 

  • Noting the $1.7 million budget gap “before we even add anything,” Superintendent Marie Wiles said naming top priorities is important.

  • Part of the Nov. 15 Guilderland ZBA meeting acted as a public hearing for Beck Concepts LLC’s request challenging a violation it received “for utilizing a single-family dwelling for the purpose of transient rental accommodations.”

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