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Gun Buyback Program In Brownsville Offers iPads, Gift Cards In Exchange For Firearms

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There was a push from police and a Brooklyn community to get guns off the street Saturday.

The first rule of a gun buyback is no questions asked, so people were not keen on answering CBS2's as they entered Bethesda Healing Center on East 98th Street with guns, then exited with new iPads and gift cards or cash.

A gun buyback event was held in Brownsville on Jan. 30, 2021. (Credit: CBS2)

Some Brownsville residents say amen as the guns are taken out of circulation.

"That's not a bad idea," one resident told CBS2's Dave Carlin.

The donated iPads were new offerings this time. They also got gift cards of up to $250.

"We're giving people iPads, we're giving people gift cards so that they can help their households," said Assistant Chief Judith Harrison, commanding officer of NYPD Brooklyn North.

RELATED STORY -- Bronx DA Darcel Clark, New York Yankees Offer iPads, $200 Cash Cards At Gun Buyback Event

Shootings in the city doubled from 2019 to 2020, with murders up 41%.

Event organizers say Brownsville was chosen for the Saturday swap because it's been hit hard by the spike in gun violence.

"We get these guns off the streets, these guns can't be used in crime. They can't be used in suicides. We can't have the tragedies that we see with children finding guns in their homes," Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said.

Forty-eight guns were collected Saturday. When asked if that was a disappointing total, State Attorney General Letitia James said all it takes is one.

"One gun that can result in carnage, one gun that can result in the death of multiple individuals, so I'm really not focused on the number," she said.

The gun buyback program is entirely paid for with funds seized from drug and gun traffickers.

Since 2013, the Attorney General's Office has hosted gun buyback events throughout New York state and has successfully collected more than 2,750 firearms.


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