“Our one-day gun buyback effort has proven to be a huge success – far exceeding our expectations – by taking more than 900 weapons out of circulation,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, whose office coordinated the event in conjunction with the NYPD and six churches throughout South Queens and the Rockaways.
In fact, 919 guns were turned in, including more than 500 pistols, assault weapons, and sawed-off shotguns. Any person who turned in an illegal or unwanted weapon in working condition was given a $200 bankcard, no questions asked. Similar programs have been held across the city.
“That brings our total number of guns collected to over 3,5000,” noted Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a press conference last week. “That’s 3,500 guns that won’t end up on our streets in the hands of criminals, won’t be involved in tragic household accidents or crimes, and won’t ever be pointed at police officers or civilians.”
Since 2002, the police department has offered $100, again no questions asked, to any individual who turned in a gun at a police precinct. But the department recently teamed up with the city’s district attorneys - which each matched the $100 reward - and various houses of worship in the hope that people would feel more comfortable turning in a weapon there as opposed to an NYPD station house.
The tactic has definitely paid off.
“Since 2002, the NYPD has taken over 5,000 guns off the street,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. “But over the course of just six Saturdays, we have recovered over 3,000 guns by having them turned in at houses of worship.”