Hundreds swap weapons for cash

October 11, 2008 5:05:37 PM PDT
Go to church - and bring your gun. That's what four Brooklyn pastors urge people to do as part of a city program to swap weapons for cash.

The Reverend Richard Beuther, pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Church in Williamsburg, said he hopes the economic crisis will spur gun owners to go for the money. On Saturday, 427 guns were turned in at the four churches, including All Saints Church and Saint Barbara Church, both in Bushwick, said Brooklyn district attorney's spokesman Jerry Schmetterer.

As part of the program, anyone can anonymously hand in a gun or rifle, legal or illegal, and get a $200 bank card - no questions asked. The cards may be used at stores or to withdraw money at ATM machines.

While gun owners can turn their weapons over at police precincts for $100 anytime, pastors say churches are seen as sanctuaries by those wary of authorities.

The program also includes Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii Church in the Bushwick neighborhood, where gunshots are a common sound.

In July, a gun buyback program at half a dozen other Brooklyn churches took nearly 700 weapons off the streets.

The weapons are being recycled into clothes hangers.

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