(St. Albans, NY)- New York State Senator Malcolm A. Smith (D-St. Albans) was joined by officials and clergy from around NYC to announce the P-3- Public, Private, Partnership Gun Buy-Back Program. The announcement was made on Father’s Day, calling all fathers to step up and assist in the effort to get illegal guns off of our city streets and to help keep our children safe.
The P-3 program will bring together anti-gun violence groups, as well as leaders from the cornerstone sectors of our community and link them to comprehensive strategic planning to reverse the gun violence trend and remove guns from the streets. Since the beginning of this month there have already been more than a dozen shootings that have claimed the lives of innocent victims.
“Killings and other types of violence continue to be a challenge for inner-city and other communities across America. According to data tables regarding crime in the United States prepared by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, New York State had the third highest total for gun-related murders in the country as of earlier this year. In addition, murders at the hands of guns account for more than 60 percent of all murders in New York State,” said Senator Smith.
In partnership with Operation S.N.U.G., a statewide grassroots community initiative, that has successfully stemmed the tide of gun violence; the P-3 Gun Buy-Back program will expand an already good concept city-wide and foster a collaborative effort to eliminate the effect of illegal guns. With the private sector and unions as the financial arms and the clergy and law enforcement geared for outreach and implementation, we can duplicate the success of previous initiatives, which in the case of the Bronx’s program, yielded a return of almost 1,200 guns. The fiscal constraints of state government should not be a deterrent to revitalizing a program that is a proven success, and a program that will save lives.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said: “The partnership between clergy and the NYPD, supported by our district attorneys, has proven to be a powerful alliance in getting guns off our streets in record numbers. With the addition of private partners and unions to help fund these initiatives through contributions to the New York City Police Foundation only helps to insure more successes in the future.”
UFT President Michael Mulgrew said: “Our students, parents and teachers deserve safe schools and safe communities free from violence. Every gun that is taken off the streets and every incident that is avoided because of gun buy-back programs has to be considered a success and the UFT is honored to be part of this program.”
Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City said: The biggest threat to our city’s status as the safest big city in America is illegal guns in the hands of young people. Senator Smith has launched a program to tackle this problem and deserves support from the business community.”
Donna Milrod, Managing Director of Deutsche Bank Americas said: “Deutsche Bank strives to be a good corporate citizen in the cities in which it operates, especially New York City. As a cornerstone participant in the P-3 gun buyback program, we are proud and honored to be working with the New York City Police Department, the Police Foundation, and Senator Smith's office on this critical effort to maintain New York's position as the safest large city in the United States.”
Norman Seabrook President, New York City Correction Officers' Benevolent Association said: “It is imperative that we, in our communities begin to police our communities. In order to do that we must begin by following the lead of Senator Malcolm Smith and others by removing the illegal hand guns that continue to snuff out the lives of our youth.
Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson said: “We can never overstate the fact that guns are instruments of death and the cause of too much unnecessary pain and suffering. While continued vigilance in enforcement efforts and tough sentencing for illegal gun possession are helpful deterrents, whatever else we can do to remove these firearms from circulation is to be encouraged. The private sector’s commitment to become a more active partner in efforts to get guns off our streets is to be commended.”
The community is poised to tackle the issue of gun violence with the goal that they will be able to enjoy the benefits of neighborhoods free from the specter of illegal and misused guns. However, we understand that such a task cannot be accomplished without a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach to dealing with violence which includes the combined resources of law enforcement, the private sector, labor unions, clergy and the community at large.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said: "Getting guns off the street and reducing crime has always been a top priority of my office. I applaud State Senator Malcolm Smith for his efforts in trying to help to curb gun violence by finding the funding for what we know is an effective weapon in the fight against crime: a gun buy- back program. 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.”
Gregory Floyd, President, Teamsters Local 237, IBT said: “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? What better day than Father’s Day to call on all fathers— and mothers too— to come together in support of the P-3 Gun-Buy-Back program. 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.”
Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes said: “I genuinely applaud Sen. Malcolm Smith’s leadership in raising funds to support Gun Buy-Back programs. There is no question that they are an effective tool to promote public safety.”
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. said: “Last year, one-third of the gun possession cases brought before our office involved defendants who were 18-years-old or younger. At a time when they should be heading to college, guns are instead sending our youth to prison – or worse, to early graves. That is why I join in applauding Senator Smith's effort to bring the private sector to the table in our continuing fight against gun violence. Getting guns off the street is an important crime prevention strategy and adding resources is a welcome tool to aid in this effort.”
Valerie Salembier, Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Police Foundation said: “The New York City Police Foundation greatly appreciates all of the donors who have generously contributed to assure that the NYPD/Clergy cash-for-guns program, in partnership with the city's five district attorneys, continues. We applaud Senator Smith for rallying support behind this life-saving cause.”
Malcolm A. Smith is the New York State Senate Immediate Past President Pro Tempore (2008-10). He currently serves as Secretary of the NYS Democratic Conference and ranking member on the Banking Committee.