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Nearly 500 guns had been turned in by noon at six sites of today’s gun buyback program in Buffalo, the Buffalo Police Department says.

In the first 90 minutes of the program, more than 100 weapons, including an assault rifle, had been turned in at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church on Abbott Road in South Buffalo, Mayor Byron W. Brown reported from the scene. Others include rifles, handguns and BB guns that resemble more dangerous firearms.

Today is the seventh “No Questions Asked” gun buyback program held by the mayor. A total of six sites - all churches - started accepting weapons at 9 a.m. and will continue until 5 p.m.

In return, people are given pre-paid credit cards ranging in value from $10 for a non-working or antique guns, as well as BB and pellet guns, to $100 for assault weapons.

Participants have received more than $200,000 through pre-paid credit card incentives at the city’s past six gun buybacks. The city bought 4,457 guns total.

“The program is working well again,” Brown said. “It’s our desire to get unwanted guns out of homes, working guns out of homes, that could end up on the street.”

“We’ve also heard from a lot of people who said, ‘Thanks for doing this; we just wanted to get the guns out of the house’,” the mayor related.

Critics of the program have said it doesn’t get the guns being used to commit crimes.

The number of sites accepting guns is down by one this year, on the recommendation of the city comptroller, to save on staffing costs.

“We figured the program could be equally as successful without seven sites,” Brown said.

Other dropoff sites are: True Bethel Baptist Church, 907 E. Ferry St.; St. John Baptist Church, 184 Goodell St.; Church of the Good Shepherd, 96 Jewett Parkway; St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 311 Ontario St.; and Primera United Methodist Church, 62 Virginia St.

email: jhabuda@buffnews.com