2009-02-06 / Top Stories

DA, NYPD Announce Details Of Gun Buy-Back Event

Local Churches Take Part In Program
By Miriam Rosenberg

The body of Tyrese Johnson lies on Beach 21 Street on May 19 last year, after he was shot and killed. Gun violence grew in Rockaway last year. The body of Tyrese Johnson lies on Beach 21 Street on May 19 last year, after he was shot and killed. Gun violence grew in Rockaway last year. The Queens District Attorney and the New York City Police Department, with the participation of local churches, will hold a gun buy-back event in Rockaway later this month, it was announced on Tuesday.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly and six pastors from local churches who are involved in the buyback, including the Rev. Evan Gray of the Macedonia Baptist Church and the Rev. Duane Sleet of Redfern's First Baptist Church, made the joint announcement about the February 21 event.

"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. "I very much appreciate the assistance of the congregations and their pastors who are participating in this effort. 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."

Handguns, rifles and shotguns can be traded in for $200 bank cards. Those with working BB guns and air pistols will receive a $20 bank card.

According to the press release, "All transactions will be completely anonymous - no questions asked."

While people can turn in as many guns as they wish, they will only receive payment for three. Also, weapons from retired or active members of law enforcement will not be accepted.

The NYPD began the gun buy-back program seven years ago when the initial payment for a surrendered weapon was $100.

"Now, with the participation of our district attorneys, including District Attorney Brown in Queens, we are able to double the reward and involve churches and their pastors who literally put their faith in our efforts. Through this partnership, together, we are taking more guns off the streets than ever before."

Homicides in the neighborhoods where the gun buy-back program will take place increased from 43 to 71 in 2008.

Residents who are turning in guns are asked to bring the unloaded weapons to the churches in paper or plastic bags or shoes boxes. If the guns are brought to the drop-off site by car, they must be in the trunk of the car. Plainclothes police officers, Queens DA investigators and members of the NYPD's Queens DA squad will be assigned to each church to collect the guns.

There will be two churches on the peninsula where any legal or illegal firearms can be turned in. They are the First Baptist Church at 15-10 Redfern Avenue in Far Rockaway and the Macedonia Baptist Church at 330 Beach 67 Street. The sites will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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