Guns for Cash at Brooklyn Church

Print More
File image of a Hi-Point .45. According to an investigation of gun trafficking, straw buyers purchase guns like this for as little as $99 and re-sell them illegally in New York for as much as $500.

Photo by: Laura Floyd/Brianp1969

File image of a Hi-Point .45. According to an investigation of gun trafficking, straw buyers purchase guns like this for as little as $99 and re-sell them illegally in New York for as much as $500.

An operable handgun or assault rifle will net you $200 if you bring it—in a plastic bag—to a gun buyback event in Vinegar Hill this weekend.

But rifles and shotguns will only fetch $20 at the Church of the Open Door at 201 Gold Street, where weapons will be accepted between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday.

The event—sponsored by Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, Councilwoman Letitia James and the NYPD—is the second Brooklyn buyback in as many months. A one-day buyback at sites in Brownsville and Cyprus Hills gathered 80 revolvers, 31 semi-automatic pistols, 4 rifles, 3 shotguns, one sawed-off shotgun and 15 other weapons (a category that includes) BB guns.

Since the buybacks started in Brooklyn in 2008, they have netted at least 2,500 guns.

The $200 price-per-handgun is generally in line with what the legal secondary market pays for guns. At gunbroker .com on Tuesday, a Raven Arms P-25 single action semi-automatic pistol was auctioning for $99, a Cobra Arms .380 went for $141 and a “factory new” Hi-Point 40-caliber pistol was selling at $200. The illegal market might offer more. When Mayors Against Illegal Guns investigated gun trafficking in 2008, their investigators found that “One trafficker told us he bought $99 guns in Georgia and sold them for $600 in New York” and “Another trafficker only bought Hi-Point 9mms, because he could sell a Glock that cost
hundreds of dollars for only a couple hundred more in New York, while he could sell a $99 HiPoint for $500. A Virginia trafficker told us he bought about 30 guns in Virginia for between $150 and $200 and sold them in New York for $500 to $600 each.”

The price differential between handguns and long guns reflects the starkly higher profile of handguns in murders—nationwide and especially in New York. About two-thirds of murders in the United States involve guns, and in those cases where the type of firearm is know, handguns make up 90 percent of the murder weapons. In New York State in 2011, handguns were used in 394 murders; shotguns and rifles were used in 21 killings.

New York State Murders, 2011 (Source: FBI)

According to an NYPD analysis, 61 percent of murder victims in the city are shot. Shootings in Brooklyn fell last year by 16 percent, to 102.

In heated exchanges at a City Council hearing last year, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly suggested gun buybacks were not the answer to violence in high-crime neighborhoods, but Council critics contended that the number of weapons nabbed through buybacks compared favorably with the impact of the NYPD’s controversial stop, question and frisk policy.

In 2011, that policy resulted in the capture of 780 guns (as well as thousands of knives) in nearly 700,000 encounters with civilians. But the police department argues that stop-and-frisk also deters people from carrying guns.