Council, police announce citywide gun buyback program

Credit: Metro File Photo
Credit: Metro File Photo

City Council members and the police department announced a citywide gun buyback initiative Sunday, with ten programs throughout the five boroughs in the next several months.

“Through this series of gun buy-backs, we can prevent the violence that devastates families and entire communities,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said in a statement. “We’re not just taking guns back–we’re also taking back our city’s streets.”

In an effort to combat gun violence, both the council and police have each contributed $150,000 to fund the programs, wherein New Yorkers can exchange operable handguns and assault rifles for a $200 bank card and receive a $20 bank card for returning rifles and shotguns. In the past, such buybacks have been organized by district attorney’s offices with police and clergy throughout the city.

Though Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has recently sparred with City Council over two police oversight bills, he said the department was grateful the council was able to identify funds to increase the number of possible gun buybacks.

“It’s all about saving lives,” Kelly said in a statement.

Locations of the buybacks will be determined by homicides, shootings, firearms arrests and gun trafficking patterns. They will be held in houses of worships, the council and police said.

“We must do more to get guns off of our streets, and programs like these are a key component in our efforts to end violence in New York City,” the Rev. David Cousins of the Bridge Street AME Baptist Church, located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Since 2008, 2,778 guns have been recovered from buybacks in Brooklyn. Another 567 were recovered from such programs on Staten Island.

“The best way to stop gun violence is to get guns off the street,” Council Member Dan Garodnick, who represents parts of Manhattan, said in a statement. “This initiative shows the City is willing to put its money where its mouth is to make that happen.”

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