Some 140 Guns Pulled Off Streets in Buy Back Program
MANHATTAN — Law enforcement agencies and a pair of Harlem churches took 139 guns off the streets Saturday — including a Tec-9 and a weapon with a silencer — as part of the "Cash for Guns" buy back program, officials said.
The haul included more than 80 revolvers and 40 semi-automatics as well as a smattering of rifles and shotguns, according to the NYPD.
The weapons were collected, no questions asked, at two houses of worship — Beth Gospel Assembly on East 120th Street and St. Joseph of the Holy Family R.C. Church on West 125th Street — in exchange for cash.
Those who turned in operable handguns received a $200 bank card and those who brought in rifles got $20, according to the Manhattan DA's office.
The collection came during a year marred by gun-related violence throughout the city, including the slaying of Harlem basketball star Tayshana Murphy on Sept. 11.
According to the DA's office, gun- and gang-violence are on the rise, with 22 of the 49 homicides committed in Manhattan in 2011 the result of firearms. And last year, more than half of the 65 homicides were gun-related.
"Despite some of the strongest anti-gun laws in the nation, our city continues to see the devastating consequences of gun violence,” said DA Cyrus Vance Jr. “Senseless deaths, like the fatal shooting of 18-year old Tayshana Murphy last month, remind us how the lives of young men and women are cut short too often by gun violence.
"So far this year, 249 people have been indicted for possessing loaded guns — and of those defendants, 52 of them, or 21 percent, were 18 or younger when arrested."
Since the joint clergy-police program began, more than 7,000 guns have been collected.