Uniondale ‘takes back community’ with gun buy back

Grace Cathedral International took in 75 guns on Saturday, May 10,  only one hour into a  three hour anonymous collection, as part of the Nassau County Weapons Buy Back Program.   Working in tandem with Nassau County police, District Attorney Kathleen Rice and County Executive Ed Mangano, the church on Jerusalem Avenue  completed its fourth gun buy back.

“I don’t want individuals [perpetrators] to think that they can, at random, come into [our] community, just start shooting guns and there is no response from the righteous people,” said Robert Harris, Bishop of Grace Cathedral. “As a result, we will do marches and have programs in our community to let them know we don’t tolerate it.”

The formation of the Nassau County Gun Buy Back program since Rice assumed the role of District Attorney has eliminated more than 3,000 firearms from the streets of Uniondale.

Using asset forfeiture money, the county is able to fund the program with zero cost to its taxpayers.

“We don’t use taxpayer money, we work together with the police department, and most importantly we work with faith-based leaders like Bishop Harris,” Rice said. “They give credibility to our program and ensure that we get as many weapons of the streets as possible.”

No questions were asked of individuals selling their firearms—which ranged from handguns to assault rifles—and the media was prohibited from approaching them. Those with weapons took advantage of the right to conceal their identity.

“The number one priority is getting guns off our streets,” Rice said in regards to the lack of repercussions associated with the anonymity of the buy back. “If we allow for people to do this anonymously, we will get a larger group of people willing to bring their weapons in.”

The buy back is only part of the effort to reduce weaponry in the community, and is part of a much larger plan to educate the public on safety issues. The ‘ShotSpotter’ program exists in Roosevelt along with a number of youth gun safety programs. According to Rice, strict enforcement for violations involving weaponry is still at the top of the county’s agenda.