Project takes guns off streets

By Juan soto

A gun buyback program organized by City Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) last weekend took 40 weapons off the streets of southeast Queens.

The crime-fighting tool was implemented at a time when the number of shooting incidents in the area is on the rise.

Only one day after the event, held at Majority Baptist Church on Farmers Boulevard in St. Albans Saturday, two teenagers were shot on 149th Street in Jamaica.

“We are going to do everything possible to mitigate this and all violence,” Miller said. “This is just one of the initiatives we will be hosting” as part of Anti-Gun Violence Awareness Month.

Every resident who turned in their operable guns received a $200 gift card.

“There were no questions asked, and the Police Department disposed of the handguns,” the lawmaker added.

During the first hour of the program, 13 handguns were turned in, but then the .

“It slowed that a bit after the first hour of the program in the morning, but then it picked up again towards the end of the afternoon, when more guns were turned in,” said Miller. “These are 40 guns we won’t see on the streets again.”

Miller said the time has come to have “a real conversation about gun violence,” especially with young people and their parents. “And we need to figure out real solutions and real alternatives to all of these violent incidents.”

According to statistics by the New York Police Department for the 113th Precinct, which covers South Jamaica, St. Albans and Springfield Gardens, there were 17 shooting incidents as of June 1, 2014, compared to 10 for the same period of 2013. In the 103rd Precinct, which covers Jamaica and Hollis, as of June 1 there were seven shootings, the same as last year.

Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at jsoto@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564