A gun buyback program will pay individuals for turning in their legal or illegal weapons from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Department of Agriculture in Estate Lower Love.
According to St. Croix Police Chief Christopher Howell, people can turn in weapons—with no questions asked—and they will be paid cash on the spot for them.
“It depends on the value of the gun, but there is a blue book value for weapons and we will be paying people top value,” Howell said.
The program is part of the department’s continuing effort to get illegal weapons off the streets and to allow people who have unwanted legal weapons to turn them in to police.
The St. Croix chief explained the steps to turn in weapons, including how to safely transport the gun to the site. Weapons should be placed in a bag and put into the trunk of the car, the chief said. Anyone unfamiliar with weapons should not try to unload it or tamper with it in anyway, he added.
Howell said the program will offer amnesty for anyone traveling with a weapon regardless of its legality, as long as the person is traveling a direct route from his home to the drop-off point at the Department of Agriculture.
Once the person arrives at the site, an officer will take possession of the weapon and hand it over to a firearms examiner and a property officer who will inspect it and determine the amount of money to be paid. No questions will be asked of the person turning in the weapon, Howell said.
Anyone who wants to turn in a weapon but has no transportation can call 911. Those requests will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Police are encouraging residents to turn in weapons that had been owned by someone now deceased or no longer living in the home. Legally registered weapons that are no longer wanted can also be surrendered for cash.
“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,” Howell said.
The St. Croix Foundation is acting as third-party fiduciary for the $8,000 Gun Buyback fund. President Roger Dewey said, the $8,000 came from donors who support the VIPD.
“We’ve always had people in the community who support the local police, and this is just one program that people donate to,” Dewey said.
Howell said he hopes to use the entire $8,000 and commented that they had success with the buyback program on St. Thomas in June.
“We’ve had success with amnesty, but this is the first time on St. Croix we have offered a cash incentive,” Howell said.