Gun buyback program coming to Northampton County

Written by on September 27, 2022

Gun buyback program coming to Northampton County

By Olivia Richardson
September 27, 2022

Northampton County will hold a gun buyback drive. (Photo by Somchai Kongkamsri from Pexels / File)

EASTON, Pa. — Northampton County residents can turn in unwanted guns at two locations in Bethlehem this weekend — and get paid in return.

The county district attorney’s office will offer $50 to $200 gift certificates to those who surrender guns. There will be no questions asked and gun donations can be anonymous.

Residents are asked to bring firearms unloaded and in the trunk of their vehicles to either the Hecktown Fire Company in Bethlehem or the Bethlehem City Fire Department Lincoln Station.

This isn’t the first time that Northampton County has held a Gun Buyback program, though it’s been the first of a few years.

Northampton District Attorney Terence Houck said the DA’s office has focused on getting guns off the street by creating a drug task force, but it hasn’t been enough.

“You just see this violence out on the street with kids of all ages,” Houck said. “You’re just trying to think of something to just do your part.”

The program isn’t expected to get a significant number of guns off the streets. A spokesperson for Houck’s office said that many times, people think the aim of the program is to completely reduce violence. However, Houck said the program is mainly aimed at helping people who have unused, unwanted guns get rid of them safely.

“When they turn them in, there’s no questions asked. Whoever brings them doesn’t have to be people from Northampton County,” Houck said.

Gun buybacks don’t typically decrease the number of guns in a city, according a recent study by the National Bureau Of Economic Research.

One reason is that people who turn in guns may not be those who commit violent crimes with guns. The study also noted that cash incentives also are not comparable to the cost of a gun. A typical gun could cost about $1,000, and buybacks don’t usually offer that much.

Houck said that this program is focused more on helping people dispose of guns they may not want in their homes, or getting into the wrong hands.

“A shooting is a shooting,” Houck said. “Whether it’s accidental, whether it’s intentional or whether it’s reckless. And you just have people that are nervous that they have these guns in the house. Maybe a husband passed on … or a son left it behind and you want to get rid of it because it makes you nervous.”

According to the DA’s office, any firearm that is collected through the Northampton buyback program will be tested to see if it is tied to any unsolved crime. If not, the gun will be destroyed.

Money for the program comes from money confiscated through the drug task forces. Houck said some people may have felt that gun buyback programs could transgress people’s rights to buy firearms. Houck said that is not the intent of the program.


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