Thursday, February 19, 2009

DA and NYPD to Host Gun Buyback Program

$200 Offered in Exchange for Illegal Firearms

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly will join six local church pastors on Saturday for a gun buyback program, which aims to take illegal guns off the streets by offering a $200 cash return for each eligible weapon surrendered.

Guns must be dropped off at one of six locations in the Rockaways and South Queens between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. All transactions will be anonymous with no questions asked, and individuals will receive a $200 bank card in exchange for illegal handguns, rifles and shotguns.

Functional BB guns and air pistols can be exchanged for a $20 bank card. All guns must be functional, and no guns will be accepted from active or retired law enforcement officials. The bank cards can be used as a debit card or to withdraw money from an ATM.

There is no limit to the number of guns individuals can surrender, but payment will only be issued for up to three weapons. Plainclothes police officials, QDA Detective Investigators and members of the NYPD Queens District Attorney Squad will be at the churches to accept the firearms.

Participants are encouraged to use paper or plastic bags or shoe boxes to transport the guns to the church. If transported by vehicle, weapons must be kept in the trunk.

The program is centered on neighborhoods in the Rockaways and South Queens, where homicides increased from 43 to 71 last year.

“The ultimate goal of this law enforcement initiative is to get as many guns as possible off the streets of Queens County in order to reduce firearm violence and bring about safer neighborhoods for all residents,” said Brown. “The support of the community is critical to the success of this program and emblematic of the level of cooperation needed by law enforcement to ensure the safety of everyone.”

Participating mainland churches are: Praise Tabernacle, 108-11 Sutphin Boulevard in Jamaica; Evangel Temple, 227-10 Merrick Boulevard in Laurelton; Majority Baptist Church, 115-21 Farmers Boulevard in Jamaica; and Presbyterian Baptist Church, 190-01 119th Avenue in Saint Albans.

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