FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, POLICE COMMISSIONER KELLY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY BROWN ANNOUNCE OVER 900 GUNS TAKEN OFF THE STREETS DURING QUEENS ONE-DAY GUN BUYBACK
Over 900 Guns, Including Hundreds of Handguns and 7 Assault Weapons, Exchanged for $200 Cash Awards
During Six Saturdays, Over 3,500 Guns Have Been Turned in Citywide at Buyback Events
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown today announced that 919 guns were taken off the streets during a gun buyback program that took place at six Queens churches on Saturday. Since last summer, similar buyback programs held in Brooklyn, Manhattan and on Staten Island, coupled with the buyback results announced today, have resulted in the recovery of over 3,500 guns, more than half of them handguns. The announcement took place at the 101st Precinct Stationhouse in Rockaway, where major felony crime is down 25 percent this year when compared to the same period last year, and down 64 percent since the Mayor took office. Major felony crime citywide is down 28 percent from 2001 through 2008, and down another 14 percent so far this year, including declines in every crime category.
“Six churches in St. Albans, Jamaica, and the Rockaways helped us collect 919 guns – the most ever collected since we began our buyback program,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “That brings our total number of guns collected to over 3,500. That’s 3,500 guns that won’t end up on our streets in the hand of criminals, won’t be involved in tragic household accidents or crimes, and won’t ever be pointed at police officers or civilians.”
“Our partnership with the City’s clergy and their congregations has worked miracles,” said Police Commissioner Kelly. “Since 2002, the NYPD has taken 5,000 guns for the street through its program of offering $100, no questions asked, to individuals who returned guns to any station house in the City. That’s 5,000 guns over seven years. But over the course of just six Saturdays, we have recovered over 3,000 guns by having them turned in at houses of worship and by doubling the reward to $200 with matching contributions for our district attorneys. It is a life saving program.”
“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 District Attorney Brown. “I think it is fair to say that the citizens of Queens county are safer today as a result.”
The following weapons were turned in on Saturday: 257 revolvers, 222 rifles, 147 shotguns, 137 semi-automatic pistols, 137 pellet & BB guns, 15 sawed-off shot guns and 7 assault weapons. Any person who turned in a gun was given a $200 cash award, in the form of a debit card. Any person who turned in a pellet or BB gun was given a $20 cash award, also from a debit card. The program was funded jointly by the Police Department and the District Attorney using Federal forfeiture funds. In total, $158,880 was handed out in exchange for guns on Queens on Saturday.
Saturday’s gun buyback and five other similar programs held in other areas have resulted in the recovery of 3,551 weapons. Those weapons include 1,051 revolvers, 843 rifles, 753 semi-automatic pistols, 418 shotguns, and 372 pellet and BB guns, 73 sawed-off shot guns, and 42 assault weapons. Total amount of funds disbursed so far for all six events was $637,572.
The Mayor’s three-pronged approach to combat illegal guns consists of stronger enforcement, new legislation and innovative litigation. In September, the Mayor announced that the last of 27 gun dealers sued by New York City in 2006 for public nuisance agreed to a settlement. The gun dealers sued were the top sources of guns recovered in New York City crimes. Since those lawsuits were filed, data indicates that the share of illegal guns coming from those dealers has been reduced 75 percent. Further, by passing the toughest law in the country against illegal possession of a loaded gun, as the City did in 2006, the percentage of gun criminals who receive prison sentences of more than a year has increased substantially.
Stu Loeser / Jason Post (212) 788-2958
Paul Browne (NYPD) (646) 610-6700
Kevin Ryan (Queens DA) (718) 286-6315
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