A total of 509 guns were surrendered at a Queens church on Saturday as part of an effort to clean up street violence in the borough, the NYPD said.
Amid a wave of gun violence that plagued the city streets this summer, the NYPD, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and State Sen. Malcolm Smith hosted a gun buyback initiative. People turning in working handguns, rifles or shotguns received $200 bank cards.
“If you take one gun off the streets that helps save a life,” said Smith (D-Queens). “I’m sure we saved a lot of lives going forward.”
Queens resident Catherine Cruz found the initiative a perfect opportunity to give up her .25-caliber automatic handgun she once considered her “security blanket.”
“I have a 5-year-old granddaughter and I don’t want her to find it,” said Cruz, 53, who added that she used to carry the firearm in her purse every day on her bus commute to work for “protection.” But she stopped carrying it when she got a car.
Smith said that he suspected many people were bringing in guns on behalf of someone else.
“An elderly woman came in with like six 9-mm. guns and a rifle — she can barely walk. She brought those guns in for somebody else. And in a strange way that’s encouraging to me because it tells me it’s coming out of the hands of some of the bad guys.”