In response to public outcry to curb gun violence, one lawmaker has teamed up with church leaders, community organizations and law enforcement to launch a gun buyback program. Since the beginning of this month there have already been more than a dozen shootings that have claimed the lives of innocent victims.
Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Jamaica) presented the plan for the public-private partnership called the P-3 program at a press conference in St. Albans on Father’s Day. It was held to coincide with the holiday and Smith’s call for all dads to step up and assist in the effort to get illegal guns off the streets and keep children safe.
The program will be funded by the private sector and unions while clergy and law enforcement will conduct outreach and implementation, duplicating previous initiatives which in the case of the Bronx’s program, yielded a return of almost 1,200 guns.
“How many more tears must be shed for innocent loved ones caught in the cross-fire of illegal guns, before we get these weapons off our city streets for good?” asked Gregory Floyd, president of Teamsters Local 237.
He added, “On this day, we pause to thank our fathers for helping to give us life.The P-3 initiative helps ensure that our children are able to enjoy that life, safely in their own homes and communities. As parents, it’s our responsibility.”
Smith cited data collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which said New York State had the third highest total for gun-related murders in the country as of earlier this year, accounting for more than 60 percent of all killings.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown had stated numerous times in the past that a gun buyback was not possible due to fiscal constraints, even though the last one was highly successful, taking over 900 weapons off the streets of southeast Queens.
Although police precincts always have a buyback in effect, paying $100 for a firearm, lawmakers and community leaders have contended that the DA’s program was better because it not only doubles the amount given through matching funds from his office, but also allowed individuals to turn in guns at places where they feel more comfortable, like their church.
Brown has praised the P-3 program stating that “a public-private partnership is a smart way to keep this program afloat during these tough economic times and gives those in the private sector a meaningful way to give back to the communities where they do business.”