By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Sunset Park Business Improvement District (BID) is urging anyone in the neighborhood who has an illegal gun to surrender it to authorities. To entice gun owners reluctant to give up their weapons, the BID is sweetening the pot by offer bank cards worth up to $200.
It’s all part of a gun buyback program set to take place on Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Beit El Maqdis Islamic Center at 6206 Sixth Ave., from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Residents can surrender guns – no questions asked – and receive bank cards.
Under the rules of the buyback, different types of firearms will yield different prices. Operable handguns and assault weapons will fetch bank cards worth $200, while residents turning in ordinary rifles, shotguns and other firearms will receive $20 bank cards.
The bank cards are redeemable for cash at an ATM machine or usable as a debit card.
The Sunset Park gun buyback event is being organized with the cooperation of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, who has sponsored similar gun surrender events all over the borough since 2008, and the 72nd Police Precinct.
Renee Giordano, executive director of the Sunset Park BID, said business leaders are concerned about public safety and decided to offer to buy back weapons to make streets safer for merchants and for shoppers.”It is hoped that getting guns off of our streets will cut back on the violence in our city,” she said in an email announcing the Oct. 26 event.
“This is most likely the first time a business improvement distict has sponsored a gun buyback program,” Giordano said. “Several BID businesses, concerned with the safety of their customers, have donated money toward this program too,” she said.
Hynes and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly are expected to be at the mosque that day, but the exact time of their visit has not been set.
The goal of the gun buyback program is to remove illegal, functioning guns from the streets of Brooklyn by offering a $200 cash reward for each eligible weapon surrendered, according to the DA’s website.
“The success of this program goes a long way towards reducing violent crime in Brooklyn. Each gun that is taken off the streets could lead to one less robbery,” Hynes said.
The DA said many of the gun buyback events have taken place in churches and other religious institutions, and with good reason. “To overcome the fact that some people are intimidated when it comes to turning guns in to a police precinct, we got the churches and clergy involved,” Hynes said.
The initiative was launched in 2008. Over 2,000 guns have been collected over the past five years, according to the DA’s website.
Guns must be placed in a plastic or paper bag or a box. If transporting the gun by car, the gun must be transported in the trunk of the car.
The Sunset Park BID, which represents property owners, merchants and residents along Fifth Avenue between 38th and 64th streets, has had a history of outside-the-box thinking.
In May, the BID began an ambitious project to provide free WiFi to the area. The system will work on Smartphones, iPads, laptops and other devices.
For more information on the gun buyback program, call the Sunset Park BID at 718-439-7767 or the 72nd Precinct at 718-965-6311.