This Saturday, Turn In Your Guns (No Cops This Time!)

With 697 weapons turned in this past July, Brooklyn District Attorney Joe Hynes’ gun buy-back smashed all expectations and has prompted his office to announce they’ll be doing it again Saturday.

The 697 guns, collected in return for $200 prepaid cash cards over only six hours on July 19th, was about 100 more guns than the program bagged last time Hynes’ office offered the program. That was in July 2000 when they collected roughly 600 guns over 10 days.

And that number was actually pumped up by the fact that, back then, the bad guys weren’t the only ones turning in their weapons.

The NYPD switched in 1993 from revolvers to 9mm, leaving many cops with both weapons. So “a ton” of cops sneakily used the 2000 buy-back program to get rid of their old service revolvers and pocket the $100 being offered per gun back then, according to a DA source.

So many took advantage of the no-identification, no-questions-asked program, in fact, that before reinstituting it this year, Hynes’ office made a policy change.

On the bottom of the “Cash For Guns” flier that Hynes’ office handed out a press conference on Tuesday, September 9, large words written in red ink state: “No Current or Retired Law Enforcement Guns.”

Even without the cops’ old guns, and in a time when crime is reportedly at all-time lows, officials in the district attorney’s office were still hoping to get somewhere in the area of 100 guns this past July. That’s why the nearly 700 operable guns they took in blew them away. Turning in the guns to churches, instead of police precincts, was cited by Hynes as one possible reason for the unexpected increase. The DA said yesterday the program’s success in July made them push to do it again and it’s something he would like to see turned into a full-time program.

“I would institutionalize this program,” he said. “I see no downside to this program. None.”

But then he noted one. The money used for this program comes from their asset forfeiture fund -- money and property taken from criminals -- and that is dwindling.

In any event, there are six “Drop Off Sites” which will be accepting operable guns from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13: The Shrine Church of Our Lady of Solace, 1717 Mermaid Avenue; Our Lady of Refuge, 2020 Foster Avenue; St. Anthony Baptist Church, 425 Utica Avenue; Immanuel & First Spanish Methodist Church, 424 Dean Street; Restoration Temple Assembly of God, 4606-10 Church Avenue; and St. Albans Episcopal Anglican Church, 9408 Farragut Road. Guns are to be brought in a plastic or paper bag or a shoebox.

The program will pay for a maximum of three guns per person. NYPD Chief Douglas Zeigler said at Tuesday’s press conference that police officers have been given the word to lay off those attempting to turn in weapons at the churches.

Image adapted from a Flickr photo by dubswede under a Creative Commons license.

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