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District Announces Gun Buy-Back Program
May 15, 2000




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SUITE 1100
(202) 727-6224
MONDAY, MAY 15, 2000

"Operation Save a Life" to Include Special Outreach Effort To Young People

(Washington, DC) Building on the momentum generated by Sunday's Million Mom March, Mayor Anthony A. Williams announced today the District of Columbia is pushing up the dates of its next gun buy-back initiative from late June to this Thursday through Saturday, May 18-20.

Handguns and other firearms can be exchanged for up to $100 apiece at all seven Metropolitan Police District stations between 12 noon and 7 p.m. on those three dates, the mayor said at a news conference at Kennedy Recreation Center, 7th and P Streets, NW. The Mayor was joined by Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo, and other federal, local and community leaders in announcing the details of this year's gun buy back, dubbed "Operation Save a Life."

Williams said the goal of the program is to prevent gun violence-particularly violence against children - by removing thousands of weapons from District streets and homes over the course of just three days. The Mayor announced that as part of this year's initiative, District officials are teaming up with the faith community in a special outreach and intervention effort for gang members and other young people who possess firearms.

"The Million Mom March demonstrated the depth of support here in the District and throughout the country for strong, effective measures that safeguard our children and protect our neighborhoods from gun violence," Mayor Williams said. "Given the momentum that has been created, I felt the District should not wait another month before moving ahead with our gun buyback initiative. We can, and we must, do everything we can right now to end the scourge of senseless gun violence that is taking too many lives and tearing apart too many families and communities."

"This effort underscores the need to make a sensible investment now in services and program that make our neighborhoods safer and improve quality of life," added the Mayor. "That's why my budget supports gun buy back programs and an investment to put 175 more cops on the street."

Earlier this month, President Clinton announced HUD was contributing $100,000 to support the District's gun buy-back program, which was originally scheduled for June 23 34. That federal contribution will be matched by approximately $250,000 in District funds for the buy-back effort re-scheduled for this week.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo said that "guns create tragedy every day in America, but successful buy backs funded by HUD nationwide, which have greatly exceeded our expectation, have taken away thousands of opportunities for those tragedies. The overwhelming response shows that communities across the nation, including Washington, have embraced gun safety."

Chief Ramsey said that, as with previous buybacks, citizens can anonymously turn over firearms to the police with no questions asked and without the threat of being prosecuted for illegal gun possession. He said that in an attempt to get the most dangerous weapons off the streets, the Department will pay $100 for each operating assault weapon or semi-automatic handgun that is turned in and $50 for each revolver, rifle, shotgun or home-made "zip gun."

"The MPD will once again work with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to test-fire and trace all recovered weapons. If a weapon is found to be associated with a previous crime, detectives will investigate the new lead and work to prosecute those who were involved," Ramsey said.

"Our primary focus with 'Operation Save a Life' is prevention on saving lives by getting dangerous guns off our streets and out of the hands of our children," he said. "If we are able to solve some past crimes because of new leads we develop, that is certainly an added bonus. But our purpose is squarely to prevent future gun crimes, as well as accidents and suicides, here in the District," the Chief said.

Larry Ford, assistant special agent in charge of the ATF's Washington Field Division, is providing the MPD with new computer technology that will allow the Department to access ATF's Washington Regional Crimes Gun Center in order to trace firearms more quickly and efficiently. The new system will assist the MPD in analyzing recovered firearms during "Operation Save a Life" and throughout the year. This is the first of ten such computer systems that ATF is providing to law enforcement agencies within the Washington Metropolitan area.

Reverend Anthony Motley of Redemption Ministry, 4035 South Capitol Street, SW is helping to lead the special effort to get guns out of the hands of young people. As part of a current seven-point initiative targeting youth violence east of the Anacostia River, Motley and other ministers are currently conducting street ministries for at-risk youth.

During "Operation Save a Life," ministers in these and other neighborhoods will encourage young people to turn in their weapons at participating churches, if they do not feel comfortable going to a police station. In return, the young people will be given access to counseling, life skills training and other services offered by the churches.

"If we are serious about reducing gun violence among our youth, we must do more than prosecute offenders after the crime has already taken place. We must also do everything we can to prevent these tragedies from occurring in the first place," Motley said. "The faith community is committed to working with the police during this initiative, and throughout the year, to get young people to reject a life of guns, crime and violence, and embrace a life of personal responsibility, hope and peace."

More information about "Operation Save a Life" will be posted on the Police Department's. Web site: www.mpdc.org. In addition, the Department has established a telephone hotline, 202-727-3721, that will provide updates on the program throughout the week.

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Get up to $100 for your gun — no questions asked

Gun Buy-Back

May 18th – May 20th
12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

  • First District, 415 4th St., SW

  • Second District, 3320 Idaho Ave., NW

  • Third District, 1620 V St., NW

  • Fourth District, 6001 Georgia Ave., NW

  • Fifth District, 1805 Bladensburg Rd., NE

  • Sixth District, 100 42nd St., NE

  • Seventh District, 2455 Alabama Ave., SE

For more infomation about buy-back locations and times, call the Operation Save A Life hotline at 202-727-3721 or visit our web site at 222.mpdc.org

Government of the District of Columbia
Mayor Anthony A. Williams

Co-sponsored by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Metropolitan Police Department
Charles H. Ramsey, Chief

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