New York City residents will be able to trade their personal firearms in for concert tickets in a new gun buyback program that will be held at Brooklyn's Christian Cultural Center on the eve of Easter. The "Guns for Greatness" buyback program will take place at the Christian Cultural Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 30.
Michael "Blue" Williams, a hip-hop mogul who has managed the of likes of Outkast, Cee Lo Green and Nas, proposed the gun buyback program to New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who approved the idea. A buyback event will begin at the Christian Cultural Center on March 30, where people can trade in their firearms for tickets to concert tours like Jay-Z & Justin Timberlake's "Legends of Summer," Beyoncé's "The Mrs. Carter Show," and Alicia Keys' "Girl On Fire" tour.
The New York Daily News reports that Williams' buyback program will be the first of its kind in New York City. Williams spoke to the Daily News about his reason for wanting to make the program happen in the city.
"A lot of these kids are going to want to get into music," Williams told the Daily News recently. "It's about galvanizing the hip-hop community to help and use our influence to make it happen."
Williams' "Guns for Greatness" buyback program has taken over a month to come together after commissioner Kelly made it clear that studies needed to be conducted in order to ensure its success.
"You need police officers present," Kelly told the Daily News last month. "You'd need the expertise."
However, Williams' seemed to sway Kelly after writing a letter to the police commissioner.
"This program aims to provide young people with an opportunity to receive guidance and inspiration from committed mentors, an important option that will enable them to experience possibilities other than a life surrounded by gun violence and unnecessary shootings and killing," Williams' letter to Kelly reads.
Although the "Guns for Greatness" buyback program is the first of its kind in the city, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has worked with the Christian Cultural Center in an attempt to reduce gun violence in the past.
Bloomberg spoke at the church about the city's efforts to reduce gun violence while facilitating a bond with local clergymen and police officials.
"We've formed partnerships with members of the clergy who work with their local precinct on efforts like gun buy-back programs," Bloomberg said during a speech made last Father's Day at the Christian Cultural Center. "We're working to protect our kids: keeping illegal guns off the street. We're tackling this problem from every direction."