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CUOMO INVITES HOUSING AUTHORITIES AND LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES TO APPLY FOR HUD GUN BUYBACK FUNDS
WASHINGTON - The Department of Housing and Urban Development will begin accepting applications this week for $15 million in grants to fund the purchase of up to 300,000 guns from people around the country, in the largest gun buyback program in American history.
HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo today invited public housing authorities - in partnership with police and sheriff's departments - to apply for the grants, which will be used to buy back guns for about $50 each.
Each housing authority and law enforcement agency applying jointly for a grant will be eligible to get up to $500,000 in HUD funds - enough to purchase up to 10,000 guns at $50 each. While some large cities are expected to seek maximum funding, smaller cities are expected to operate smaller buyback programs.
A Notice of Funding Availability issued by HUD and published in the Federal Register officially notifies communities across the nation about the grants and explains the process of applying for the funds. Information and a fund application can be found on HUD's web page at www.hud.gov
Applications are due December 3. Funding will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Housing authorities will distribute the HUD funds to local police departments to conduct the buybacks in December, to enable families to replace guns with cash and gift certificates during the holiday season.
"When we empower communities to join together to reduce the number of guns on our streets, we make neighborhoods safer and make the lives of children more secure," Cuomo said. "I encourage communities to apply for these grants to prevent needless deaths and injuries caused by guns."
HUD's Gun Buyback and Violence Reduction Initiative was announced by President Clinton in September. HUD has used the time since then to finalize details of the initiative.
Local officials will decide whether to distribute the $50 per gun buyback fee in cash, or in the form of gift certificates for food, toys or other goods. In addition, local merchants will be encouraged to support the buyback program by donating additional items to people turning in firearms.
HUD will also provide funds to help administer the buybacks and to study the effectiveness of gun buyback programs, and could provide funding to more housing authorities and police departments in the future if the pilot initiative is expanded.
Several cities around the country have conducted gun buyback programs in recent years, but none has even come close to purchasing 300,000 guns. These local buyback programs have collected anywhere from a few dozen to a few thousand guns.
The buybacks are designed to reduce the toll of gun violence, which each week claims an average of 600 lives and injures another 1,800 people in crimes, accidents and suicides around the United States.
To reduce the availability of guns, all guns purchased with HUD funds will be destroyed, unless it is determined that a gun was stolen or is needed for an ongoing law enforcement investigation. Stolen weapons will be returned to their lawful owners.
Local law enforcement agencies will be required to follow specific recovery, tracing and destruction procedures in dealing with firearms purchased under the buyback initiative. This includes tracing of guns through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the National Crime Information Center, as well as ballistics testing.
HUD will use funding from its Drug Elimination Grant Program for the gun buyback initiative. Drug Elimination Grants are used to combat crime in and around public housing developments around the nation.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009
Content Archived: January 20, 2009