Lower East Side Shootings Prompt Calls for Gun Buy Back
In response to an increased number of shootings on the Lower East Side, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver informed both Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly last week about his concerns over the uptick in violence. In the letter, Speaker Silver urged both the DA’s Office and the NYPD to sponsor a gun buy-back program on the Lower East Side. “Gun buy-backs have proven to be a very effective way to remove guns from our streets,” said Speaker Silver. “The community room at Rutgers Houses would be a perfect location and the tenant association leadership has indicated its support.”
The Lower East Side has certainly seen a rise in gun violence, the most recent of which was the late-night shootout on February 27, in which officer Thomas Richards was shot by 25 year-old Luis Martinez near the Baruch Houses. Richards and his partner Officer Thomas Dunne returned fire, hitting Martinez in the upper right leg. One of the rounds fired by Martinez hit a spare ammunition magazine on Richards’ gun belt, no dobut saving his life.
“We must take proactive steps to take guns out of the hands of criminals so that our streets are safer and the law-abiding members of our community feel empowered in their neighborhoods,” added Speaker Silver.
–Written by Andrew Cohen