Cities across the US have been holding gun buyback programs since at least 1974. Most of these events have been organized by local police departments, who typically offer between $50 and $250 in cash or gift cards in exchange for a turned-in firearm with no questions asked.
The Episcopal congregation at the Church of the Holy Cross in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania tried their hands at a similar program on Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year, largely inspired by a double homicide that occurred in front of the church in November 2019. Church leaders had planned to remain available all throughout the afternoon, offering $100 per gun.
In the first 40 minutes, more than 50 people showed up, and the church ran out of the $5,000 they had budgeted for the event.
Many gun advocate argue that events like these are nothing more than symbolic acts of virtue-signalling that ultimately make no real impact on curbing gun violence. And statistically speaking, they're probably right. But that shouldn't diminish the hope, inspiration, and community building that can be derived from such events.
That's why the Church of the Holy Cross is planning to hold another similar event soon. If you do want to donate to the cause to help buy back more guns, you can send money directly to the church at 7507 Kelly Street in Pittsburgh; unfortunately, they don't take donations online.
Image via Frankie Leon/Flickr