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D.A. looks to reload ‘gun buyback’ - Recent success of program prompts officials to try and expand effort

Officials from the Kings County District Attorney’s office are setting their sights on holding another gun buyback program.

Hot on the heels of last month’s program, which netted 697 guns from six locations in just six hours, Hynes confirmed last week that his office was going back to the well one more time.

“We’re going to do it again and expand it,” he said. “It’s probably going to be sometime in late August.”

The specifics were still being hammered out as this paper went to press.

Six churches throughout the borough joined Hynes in the July 19 initiative, where people were paid $200 for their firearms, no questions asked.

Houses of worship participating in the program, which was supported in part by Rep. Ed Towns, included the Southern Baptist Church on Stanley Avenue in East New York, the First A.M.E. Zion Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant and the Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Fort Greene.

Those who handed in the weapons were given a $200 Chase bank card which they could use to pull money out of an ATM or to buy merchandise.

The money for the purchases came from the NYPD and drug forfeiture money collected by Brooklyn prosecutors.

By the end of the day, 198 semi-automatic weapons, 25 sawed-off shotguns and 12 assault rifles were among the hardware collected. An assortment of BB guns were also collected, although program organizers paid only $20 for them – not $200.

Hynes said that those giving up their firearms represented a healthy “cross-section” of city residents.

“There were people as far away as Staten Island and New Jersey coming,” he explained. “There were some older people, as well as a lot of women who were turning in their boyfriend’s or child’s sidearm before they got in trouble for it.”

All of the weapons were checked by ballistics experts to determine if they were used in any crimes.

They were then melted down and made into wire hangers – a more fitting end than being thrown to the bottom of the river after being used in a murder.

“We figured that 10 percent of these guns could have been used to kill someone,” Hynes said. “That’s 70 homicides this buyback program prevented.”

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