Rifles, handguns among firearms surrendered in exchange for cash gift cards at the United Methodist Church
PEEKSKILL, NY – Westchester County District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah announced today that 66 guns—rifles, hand guns and shot guns–were turned in at the community gun buyback event on Saturday, April 22, 2023, held at the United Methodist Church in Peekskill. Participants surrendered firearms—with no questions asked–in exchange for cash gift cards.
“As of today, 66 more guns are off our streets and out of potentially the wrong hands. Gun buybacks are part of my broader gun safety goals intended to reduce gun-involved incidents, including gun suicides. I thank the United Methodist Church in Peekskill, the Peekskill NAACP, the Peekskill Police Department, and the City of Peekskill for their valuable partnership in assisting us in our goals to keep our communities safe and free of gun violence.”
The Peekskill buyback was a success because Peekskill Mayor Vivian McKenzie and her police chief cooperated with the WCDAO who funded the entire thing, they were gracious and did great job helping host it.
Save Mount Vernon co-founder Jesse Van Lew has been calling for Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard to do whatever she can to curb the senseless gun violence in the community including gun buybacks.
“It’s a travesty for our Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard to not care about the safety of our Children and citizens of Mount Vernon, I’ve been asking for a gun buyback, but she says it doesn’t work, as my understanding the city of Peekskill, had a gun buyback today and 66 guns were turned in.” Jesse Van Lew shared with Black Westchester. “She fails to realize that it is her job as Mayor to protect this community by any means, Mt. Vernon has the most shootings in Westchester County. We demand that the Governor and County Executive and DA declare a state of emergency, and again why not us? We are not safe in this city!”
Save Mount Vernon led by Jesse Van Lew held a rally last week (see video below) in front of the Richard J Daronco Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains, pointing how gun buybacks are being done all over New York State, Saturday, April 29th and points out how cities like Brooklyn and Newark New Jersey have had great success and asked why not Mount Vernon?
In her ongoing efforts to protect New Yorkers from gun violence and keep communities safe, New York Attorney General Letitia James is hosting the first-ever statewide community gun buyback in New York on Saturday, April 29. This one-day statewide initiative will feature nine simultaneous gun buyback events held across the state, at which the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) will accept — with no questions asked — working and non-working, unloaded firearms in exchange for compensation on site. The OAG provides money in the form of prepaid gift cards when a gun is received and secured by law enforcement officers on site.
“We are tired of holding vigils, we are tired of releasing balloons. It is time to hold our mayor accountable for her inability to do her job which is to protect the citizens of Mount Vernon, the Mayor has failed to have a clear plan to combat crime and violence in Mount Vernon… she has done nothing to keep us safe in three years…” Jesse Van Lew of Save Mount Vernon at rally on Wednesday, April 19, 2023.
Gun buybacks have been part of DA Rocah’s agenda for gun safety. Her office has stated several times that she wants to do gun buyback with any police department who is happy to have us come and fund it like we did for Peekskill today.
On October 31, 2021, Mimi Rocah made her first appearance on Black Westchester’s People Before Politics Radio Show since she was elected as Westchester County District Attorney and discussed gun violence in Westchester County and wanted to help be proactive anyway, she can, including using limited asset forfeiture to spend on communities like Mount Vernon on stuff like gun buybacks.
With the offer from the District Attorney’s office to do a do a gun buyback in Mount Vernon, which residents and organizers like Save Mount Vernon’s Jesse Van Lew calling for a gun buyback, with the success of cities like Brooklyn and Newark having great success getting 100’s of guns off the street, why hasn’t Mount Vernon had a gun buyback yet? If any city in Westchester County could benefit from a gun buyback and several cities across the street doing gun buybacks next week, like Van Lew ask, why not Mount Vernon?