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HomeNewsArchivesGun Buyback a Huge Success on St. Croix

Gun Buyback a Huge Success on St. Croix

The V.I. Police Department collected a total of 78 guns during a two-day gun buyback program this weekend at the Department of Agriculture in Estate Lower Love.

A huge three-table display—with 45 handguns and 33 rifles dating back from 1944 to the late 2000s—was laid out at VIPD headquarters in Estate Hannah’s Rest during Tuesday’s press conference.

St. Croix Police Chief Christopher Howell said that the program was so successful that, after Friday’s collection of 53 guns, they had to reach out to more donors to fund Saturday’s buyback.

“At the end of the day on Friday, we were actually running out of funding and actually had to get on the phone and get some more people in the community to step up to the table to get more funding,” Howell said.

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In total, Howell said they handed out $10,400 worth of cash for the guns – but as of Friday, they only had $8,000 to spend. After reaching out to Lt. Gov. Gregory R. Francis on Friday, Howell said he was able to get more funds from numerous donors.

Howell explained that the cash value of a weapon was determined by using a gun “blue book” much like the one that is used to determine the value of cars. The highest price paid for a gun was $500, and the lowest was $60. Howell said that 90 percent of the weapons confiscated this weekend were considered deadly because they were able to be fired.

“These weapons represent guns that will never fall into the hands of criminals and those whose intention is to harm others,” Howell said.

Howell said that because they had an amnesty program in which no questions were asked of people who turned in the weapons, it would be hard to determine whether they had been used in crimes. However, the VIPD did intend to contact the V.I. Attorney General’s office to find out if there is in fact something that can be done with the guns in that instance.

While most of the weapons were likely from law-abiding persons, Howell said there is a possibility of the guns being stolen during break-ins, which could put the guns on the street and into criminal hands. Over the course of the fiscal year, more than 84 weapons have been confiscated and more than 144 have been voluntarily turned-in by owners.

Howell added that the VIPD does offer a service for registered owners to safeguard their weapons in a locked vault in the VIPD building.

The St. Croix Foundation acted as a fiduciary for the funds, but the money was raised through private donors on St. Croix with the funds being funneled through the foundation.

Acting Police Commissioner Raymond L. Hyndman congratulated the officers and the public for the success of the program, and acknowledged Sen. Shawn-Michael Malone for bringing the program to the attention of the VIPD and identifying the first anonymous donor, who contributed $10,000 with the V.I. Community Foundation as the fiduciary.

The acting commissioner also announced that the St. John Gun Buyback program is being organized, and the date will be announced within the next two months. According to Howell, another buyback should be coming within the next seven months to St. Croix.

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The V.I. Police Department collected a total of 78 guns during a two-day gun buyback program this weekend at the Department of Agriculture in Estate Lower Love.

A huge three-table display—with 45 handguns and 33 rifles dating back from 1944 to the late 2000s—was laid out at VIPD headquarters in Estate Hannah’s Rest during Tuesday’s press conference.

St. Croix Police Chief Christopher Howell said that the program was so successful that, after Friday’s collection of 53 guns, they had to reach out to more donors to fund Saturday’s buyback.

“At the end of the day on Friday, we were actually running out of funding and actually had to get on the phone and get some more people in the community to step up to the table to get more funding,” Howell said.

In total, Howell said they handed out $10,400 worth of cash for the guns – but as of Friday, they only had $8,000 to spend. After reaching out to Lt. Gov. Gregory R. Francis on Friday, Howell said he was able to get more funds from numerous donors.

Howell explained that the cash value of a weapon was determined by using a gun “blue book” much like the one that is used to determine the value of cars. The highest price paid for a gun was $500, and the lowest was $60. Howell said that 90 percent of the weapons confiscated this weekend were considered deadly because they were able to be fired.

“These weapons represent guns that will never fall into the hands of criminals and those whose intention is to harm others,” Howell said.

Howell said that because they had an amnesty program in which no questions were asked of people who turned in the weapons, it would be hard to determine whether they had been used in crimes. However, the VIPD did intend to contact the V.I. Attorney General’s office to find out if there is in fact something that can be done with the guns in that instance.

While most of the weapons were likely from law-abiding persons, Howell said there is a possibility of the guns being stolen during break-ins, which could put the guns on the street and into criminal hands. Over the course of the fiscal year, more than 84 weapons have been confiscated and more than 144 have been voluntarily turned-in by owners.

Howell added that the VIPD does offer a service for registered owners to safeguard their weapons in a locked vault in the VIPD building.

The St. Croix Foundation acted as a fiduciary for the funds, but the money was raised through private donors on St. Croix with the funds being funneled through the foundation.

Acting Police Commissioner Raymond L. Hyndman congratulated the officers and the public for the success of the program, and acknowledged Sen. Shawn-Michael Malone for bringing the program to the attention of the VIPD and identifying the first anonymous donor, who contributed $10,000 with the V.I. Community Foundation as the fiduciary.

The acting commissioner also announced that the St. John Gun Buyback program is being organized, and the date will be announced within the next two months. According to Howell, another buyback should be coming within the next seven months to St. Croix.