Today’s news:

City holds gun buy-back program

TimesLedger Newspapers

City agencies are offering cash to get guns off the street.

A program aimed at protecting innocent lives against the dangers of illegal guns is coming to Jamaica Saturday. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) announced a one-day-only gun buy-back program at Jerusalem Baptist Church, at 122-05 Smith St., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“The safety and well-being of my constituents has always been and will remain a top priority of mine,” said Smith. “Gun buy-back programs have demonstrated results from state to state and have proven to be an effective tool to cease the inflow of guns and lower the number of homicides. Illegal guns are responsible for thousands of deaths across the country every year. There have been an overwhelming number of shootings in southeast Queens by illegal firearms. Providing a monetary incentive to help rid our neighborhoods of illegal guns will help make our streets safer.”

People who own legal or illegal guns will be able to trade them for $200 bank cards, which can be used as debit cards. There is no limit to the number of guns participants can surrender, but they will only be paid for three. All transactions will be completely anonymous, no questions asked.

The program will accept handguns, rifles and shotguns. Functional BB guns and air pistols can be exchanged for $20 bank cards. All guns must be functional, but no firearms will be accepted from active or retired law enforcement officials.

On hand to accept the firearms will be plainclothes police officers, investigators and members of the NYPD Queens District Attorney Squad. Participants are encouraged to bring unloaded weapons in paper or plastic bags or shoe boxes to the church. If transported by car, they must be in the trunk of the car.

“Getting guns off the street and reducing crime has always been and remains, a top priority of my office,” said Richard Brown, the district attorney. “The ultimate goal of this law enforcement initiative is to get as many guns as possible off the streets of Queens County in order to reduce firearm violence and bring about safer neighborhoods for all residents. The support of the community is critical to the success of this program and emblematic of the level of cooperation needed by law enforcement to ensure the safety of everyone.”

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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