Mayor Richard M. Daley today urged Chicagoans to give up their guns in exchange for a $100 prepaid MasterCard as part of the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) fourth Gun Turn-In event to be held Saturday, July 26, at 25 locations across the city.
"As we all know, gun violence is a national crisis, affecting cities and towns, large and small, in every part of our country. Gun violence is claiming the lives of too many victims, especially our young people. Every year in the United States more than 3,000 children and teen-agers are killed by guns," Daley said in a news conference held at Bethlehem Star Missionary Baptist Church, 9231 S. Cottage Grove Av., at which he was joined by members of the faith-based community who support CAPS in the initiative.
"Removing firearms from the streets of Chicago is a daily battle for the men and women of the Chicago Police Department and the communities they serve," Daley said.
"Too often, when guns are readily available, people use them to resolve conflicts or to take revenge. Others get caught in the line of fire. Young children find guns in their homes and treat them as toys, and end up losing their lives or killing others," he said.
Since 2006, the Chicago Police Department and CAPS have sponsored three successful "gun turn-in" programs, collecting more than 11,000 illegal guns. Last summer, the program resulted in the collection of a record 6,700 guns.
Daley asked all residents of Chicago to turn in their firearm, shotgun, rifle, automatic, semi-automatic, pistol or revolver, no questions asked, and receive a $100 prepaid MasterCard for each gun.
They can also bring in a BB, replica or air gun and receive a $10 prepaid MasterCard per gun, he said. The turn-in locations are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Mayor reminded Chicagoans that the city's gun ordinances remain in effect despite the recent United States Supreme Court decision that applied only to the Washington, D.C. ordinance. It is still illegal to have a gun in Chicago.
"Every gun turned in represents a life potentially saved, so it's critical that we keep working hard at this program. We're going to continue removing guns from our streets," Daley said.
"And we're going to continue fighting for common-sense gun legislation in Springfield and Washington, D.C.
"I've put a priority on passing reasonable, common sense gun laws that balance the rights of hunters, sport shooters and legitimate gun dealers with our need for safe streets and neighborhoods -- not just in Chicago, but across America.
"We're going to continue working with all of you to strengthen our neighborhoods against gun violence, because keeping our children safe is Chicago's challenge and our shared responsibility," he said.
The mayor said the vast majority of the residents of Chicago are good, hard-working people who obey the law and expect others to do the same.
"The criminals, gang-bangers and other trouble-makers are a small minority - and we're not going to let them destroy the quality of life of the law-abiding majority.
"The gun turn-in program is one more example of how - working together -- we can win the fight against guns, gangs and drugs," he said.
Turn-in locations are: