2010-05-28 / Top Stories

Cries for Return of Gun Buy Back Program

By Anne Marie Turner

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly at the last, very successful gun buy-back program in Far Rockaway. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly at the last, very successful gun buy-back program in Far Rockaway. Last year the NYPD removed 919 guns from the streets through the Queens South Guns Buy Back Program. After the success of the program last year, Councilman James Sanders Jr. called for Queens District Attorney to host another gun buy back program in a statement on Monday.

After the death of 20- year-old Dane Freeman at the annual celebration of IS 238 graduates’ reunion party in the early morning of Sunday, May 23, cries for another gun buy back program began.

The Congressman said that Freeman’s death “shows that if we don’t rid our streets of illegal weapons we will continue to lose many more lives.” When the program ran in February 2009, Rockaway’s precincts alone collected 168 guns in a single day through the program, with 108 guns from the 100 Precinct and 60 guns from the 101 Precinct, respectively. Last year, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly praised the local communities for making the program possible, and helping aid in the city’s endeavor to clean up the streets. He announced that gun use in homicides dropped from 65 percent in 2008 to 57 percent in 2009.

Many considered the program a great success last year and hope for it to run again. Even in the days after the program ran, Danny Ruscillo, the president of the 100 Precinct Community Council called for the program to be annual. Ruscillo told the Wave last February, “I think we should do this on a yearly basis… It seems like they’re (Queens District Attorney) probably going to do it, which I think is great.”

Sanders himself implored the DA to reinstate the program in a statement this week in hopes that the tragic death of Freeman will not be in vain.

“We must use every option and avenue to help save the lives of our young people,” says Sanders.

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