Gun violence has spiked in New Mexico and in the Four Corners in the past year. From the May 15 mass shooting on North Dustin Avenue in Farmington to an Oct. 23 mass shooting in Durango’s Santa Rita Park, gun violence is not isolated to highly populated areas.
“There is not one community in New Mexico that does not have a problem with gun violence,” said Miranda Viscoli, co-president of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence.
Viscoli will bring the organization to Farmington from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 9 for a 2023 Gun Buyback Event in the parking lot on the corner of Municipal Drive and Navajo Street across from the city of Farmington Municipal Court House.
The group is partnering with the Farmington Police Department on the event.
“We’ve been talking to Chief (Steve) Hebbe about this for a couple of years, and we thought it would be a good time to do it,” Viscoli said, adding the role of the Farmington Police will be to “make sure the guns are not loaded and do an NCIC check to make sure they are not stolen.”
If a gun is stolen, it will be returned to its rightful owner, Viscoli said.
Viscoli started New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence in 2013 to “promote reasonable gun laws” and educate the public about gun safety.
“It is not anti-gun,” Viscoli said of the buyback event, instead she characterized it as an event to help people discard their unwanted guns in a safe manner. “It’s getting unwanted guns out of circulation.”
The Farmington event will be the 19th buyback, since the nonprofit organization did its first in 2016 in Santa Fe, and developed the Guns to Garden program partnering with Robert F. Kennedy Charter School in Albuquerque’s South Valley.
“It’s a really good school – a school that has been deeply impacted by the issue of gun violence,” Viscoli said.
The guns are dismantled at the site of the buyback program, and then the scrap metal is given to students at the school to be turned into gardening tools.
Since the inception of the Guns to Gardens, New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence has “taken in 2,000 firearms,” and of those, 40% were “semiautomatic and AR-15 style weapons,” Viscoli said.
This event will be Farmington’s first gun buyback, and people from all over the region can bring in unwanted guns. Guns will be accepted from outside of New Mexico, as well.
No information is retained on the people turning in guns, and they can turn in as many as they like.
Those turning in guns will receive gift cards for such locations as Chevron Gas, Target, Walmart, Amazon and Smiths. The values range from $100 to $250 depending on the type of gun.
|Type of Gun
|Gift card value
|$250 gift card
|Semi-automatic handgun or semi-automatic rifle
|$200 gift card
|Long guns, revolvers and pistols
|$100 gift card
Viscoli wanted the public to know that New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence is paying for all costs associated with the event. “Farmington is not paying for this,” she said, adding “nobody is forced to turn in guns.”
Those wanting to rid themselves of guns by making sure they don’t fall into the wrong hands can do it at this event, Viscoli said, adding 3D printed guns will not be accepted.
If participating in the buyback, keep guns unloaded in the trunk of the vehicle and drive-thru, while staying in your car. Gift cards will be issued once the gun surrender is completed.