Campaign supports NYC gun buyback program

From left to right: Londell McMillan, Ken Thompson,

From left to right: Londell McMillan, Ken Thompson, Pastor A.R. Bernard, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Michael "Blue" Williams at One Police Plaza in Manhattan with the results of a gun buy-back program at Pastor Bernard's Christian Cultural Center. (April 01, 2013). (Credit: Charles Eckert)

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A music mogul with ties to hip-hop artists such as Busta Rhymes, Cee Lo Green and Outkast is a key figure in bringing about a gun-buyback program that collected 115 firearms over the weekend, including an assault rifle.

At $200 a gun, the buyback, held Saturday at a church in the East New York section of Brooklyn, cost about $23,000. But the money didn't come from taxpayers. Rather, it came from a new campaign called Guns 4 Greatness, led by hip-hop executive Michael Williams.

Williams said yesterday he raised $75,000 for buybacks, and arranged to match young participants with mentors.

"The idea is to get them to turn in this gun, sign up for mentoring, and try to put them on a better path to a happy life," Williams said in a news conference at police headquarters.

It was the second time such a buyback in the city used private money.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said he wasn't sure how the mentoring program would work, but added that he was willing to test-drive the concept.

Among the 115 weapons collected, was the assault rifle, complete with a bayonet mount.

All the guns turned in, Kelly said, would be melted down and turned into wire hangers.

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