Queens buyback nets 919 guns

February 24, 2009 3:08:37 PM PST
More than 900 guns were taken off Queens streets during the most successful gun buyback program in the city's history. The whopping number of weapons were turned in at six churches in southern Queens last Saturday.

Of the 900 firearms, about half were handguns, a percentage consistent with church cash-for-gun programs in other boroughs.

The sheer numbers of weapons pleased the Queens District Attorney's Office and the NYPD, which fund the program.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly will discuss the program at a 10:30 a.m. news conference at the 101st Precinct Stationhouse.

The program, which has worked in other boroughs, gives people a chance to turn in guns anonymously and receive a $200 Chase Bank card for each firearm.

Even Queens Councilman James Sanders Jr. got into the act, he turned in a shotgun on behalf of a constituent.

Sanders had pressed Brown since last year to sponsor a buyback like the ones held previously in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island. For example, 744 weapons were turned into five Harlem churches last fall.

The Queens program targeted the southern section of the borough in part because of a recent spike of 71 homicides there, compared to 43 the previous year.


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