Assemblymember Victor Pichardo (D-Bronx) held a press conference Tuesday to discuss the tragedy in Orlando, recent gun violence in Bronx communities and his gun buyback program.

“The recent mass shooting and recent spates of violence in our community need more than our thoughts and prayers – they require action,” said Pichardo. “These kinds of incidents are heartbreaking; gun violence devastates communities and destroys families and these senseless acts of violence can be prevented.”

Assemblymember Pichardo, in collaboration with the Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark, is sponsoring a gun buyback program to help get guns off our streets and prevent future tragedies like the horrific mass shooting in Orlando, as well as recent shootings that have occurred in the Bronx. The gun buyback event will be held in early August.

The gun buyback program is especially important in the summer months when there is usually an uptick in shootings, noted Pichardo. Despite increased law enforcement presence and activity last summer, shootings increased by 10 percent from the previous year.

While mass shootings garner substantial media coverage, gun violence has continuously plagued communities across the country and in the Bronx. A recent shooting at 240 E. 175th St. prompted Assemblymember Pichardo to call the press conference on gun violence. Also in attendance were State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Angel Caballero, the Executive Director of Davidson Community Center, Jonathan Recabarron, Pastor of the Fordham Evangelical Lutheran Church, David Caba, the Executive Director of B.R.A.G and K-Born Rivers, Founders of I am My Community Inc., along with members of Community Board 5.

“I grieve with the families of the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando who were taken too soon in what has become an all too frequent occurrence in our country,” said Pichardo. “I join the community in calling on Congress to do their job and enact common-sense gun law reforms.”

Assemblymember Pichardo also fought to secure $9,300 each for the 46th, 48th and 52nd police precincts so law enforcement is better equipped to keep our streets safe.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said, “In light of what happened in Orlando; an evil, diabolical, wicked act of terror facilitated by the easy access to powerful weaponry; any guns we can get off the streets, we are saving someone’s life. I want to thank Assemblymember Victor Pichardo and Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark for pushing forward with this plan. Bronxites cannot tolerate gun violence in our neighborhoods. This is yet another step towards keeping our streets safer.”

U.S. Congressman José E. Serrano said, “Once again we’ve seen the danger that easy access to guns represents for our community. We have to limit the amount of guns circulating on the streets to help prevent tragedies like the ones that happen all too frequently in the Bronx. Assemblymember Pichardo and District Attorney Clark’s gun buyback program will have an immediate impact on our community and is an important step forward as we work on fixing our nation’s broken gun control laws. I applaud Assemblymember Pichardo and District Attorney Clark for taking the lead on this important effort.”

State Senator Gustavo Rivera said, “From the heartbreaking attack at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub to the terrible shootings in the streets of the Bronx, gun violence continues to cost the lives of too many Americans every year. While our thoughts and prayers are certainly needed, the implementation of immediate and long term legislative measures at the federal, state and local levels is imperative in curtailing this epidemic. I commend the efforts of Assemblymember Victor Pichardo and Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark for organizing this gun buyback event to help take numerous guns off the streets.”

New York City Council Member Vanessa Gibson, Chair of Committee on Public Safety said, “From tragic stories of children playing with unlocked guns to the horror of an orchestrated mass shooting, our country has become gripped by an epidemic of gun violence. I applaud Assemblymember Victor Pichardo and Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark for leading our community in a gun buyback program and providing a responsible way to dispose of these deadly weapons. The gun violence epidemic will not come to an end until Congress enacts sensible gun reform policy, but this buyback program, and others like it, improve the safety of our community and our streets, and for that I thank everyone involved.”

New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres said, “Any measure to take guns off the streets is a worthy endeavor, and Assemblymember Pichardo’s Gun Buyback program will hopefully succeed in doing this. At a time of heightened awareness on gun violence we must all do what we can to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands.”

New York City Council Member Rafael Salamanca, Jr. said, “Enough is enough. We need gun control reform, and we need it right now – not only in the Bronx but across the country. It is my hope that we can set the example right here in the Bronx by demonstrating how we all can have a gun-free community.”