By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
"No questions asked."
That's the deal at this Saturday's “Cash for Guns” event taking place in Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn at The Church of the Open Door, 201 Gold Street. Bring in your working handgun or assault rifle from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on February 2, and walk out with a $200 bank card. You can get cash for up to three guns, for a total of $600.
Lower-priority rifles and shotguns can be exchanged for a $20 bank card.
The city doesn't ask where you got the guns, just that you bring them in a plastic or paper bag. In keeping with the "no questions asked" theme, reporters and their cameras cannot even attend.
How do these bounties compare? At gunbroker.com (which doesn't ship guns to New York addresses) a .22 cal Sturm Ruger six shot was bid up to $205 on Thursday; a Walther P22 was selling for $375; and a Glock 26 Gen 4 semi-automatic listed for $795. A single barrel Derringer -- described as the "poor man's judge" -- was going for $75. Remmington shotguns were running about $300.
Last year 327 guns were taken off the streets through gun buy-back programs, said Kings Country District Attorney Charles Hynes, who sponsors the events in conjunction with Council Member Letitia James, Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, and Rev. Dr. Mark V.C. Taylor of The Church of the Open Door.
In spite of the church being a stone's throw from trendy DUMBO and not far from the up-and-coming Brooklyn Navy Yard, a considerable number of violent incidents take place in the 35th District. In September 2012 alone, four people were shot -- three fatally -- at the neighborhood's public housing projects: two at Walt Whitman Houses, one at Farragut Houses, and one at nearby Atlantic Terminal Houses.
“It is crucial that we work to remove guns from our community to save lives,” Council Member James said in a statement. “We are living in a social climate where we are beginning to examine the national consequences of gun access. As Brooklynites, it’s important that we also address the prevalence of illegal guns and gun-related violence in our communities. No one should be afraid to walk through their own neighborhood for fear of being a victim of gun violence.”
In 2011, 38 percent of murders citywide took place in Brooklyn, which has the highest murder rate in the city, according to an NYPD analysis. More than 60 percent of victims in the city were black in 2011, even though black individuals make up only 23 percent of the population. Roughly 80 percent were male. Roughly 60 percent of murder suspects were also black, and 91 percent were male.
Murders in Brooklyn have actually been going down over the past couple of years, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said in a statement. In 2011, murders in Brooklyn fell below 200 for the first time since 1963. Last year murders in the borough fell to below 150. Kelly said police partnership with the clergy "has been a key ingredient in these successes.”