A gun buyback event will be held at the Edmonson Village Shopping Center on Saturday, funded with $50,000 raised by the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
The interfaith event is being organized by the Archdiocese, which raised donations from its parishes and individual donors to make the effort possible. Similar events have been held in Chicago and New York, the archdiocese said.
It will include a resource fair, and will be kicked off by the Rev. Mike Murphy, a Southwest Baltimore native and pastor of St. Joseph Monastery Parish in Irvington.
Saturday’s programming goals include building a coalition for peace in West Baltimore and channeling hope to the community during a summer when violence is often the news of the day.
According to a news release, partner groups “will offer resources on programs that provide job training, trauma counseling, youth advocacy, gun safety education, health and wellness outreach and anti-poverty services. Returning citizens will prepare and give away fresh food meals through the Franciscan Center. Interfaith leaders will join community members in prayer and provide pastoral support and spiritual guidance upon request. The event also includes a public program with elected officials and dignitaries beginning at noon and music throughout the day.”
The gun buyback portion of the program is run by the Baltimore Police Department, who will be in a separate part of the shopping center to provide a safe and legal way for community members to dispose of unwanted guns.
Each handgun, rifle, and shotgun will be worth $200 in cash. Semi-automatic and fully-automatic assault weapons turned in will garner $300 in cash. All weapons turned in will be destroyed. Excess funds from the gun buyback will go to the Archdiocese’s Grief Ministry in support of the families of homicide victims.
Murphy extolled the life-saving potential of the gun buyback programs, and expressed hope for the day to be life-changing for community members.
“Gun buybacks give people a legal way to dispose of unwanted firearms, and research shows safety is a top motivation for participants,” said Murphy. “The guns recovered could be the same ones used in a suicide or an impulsive act of rage, or they could be stolen in a home invasion and discharged in a subsequent crime. Could our event be what sparks a violent repeat offender to change his life and turn his piece over for a couple of hundred dollars? I’ve certainly witnessed the Holy Spirit do bigger things.”
Baltimore’s Archbishop William E. Lori agreed.
“We join the Church in Chicago, New York and other cities that have recently partnered with law enforcement on successful gun buyback events,” said Lori. “Together, we send a powerful message of hope to communities plagued by gun violence, create the potential to save lives, and ultimately, channel God’s love toward peace and healing.”
One of the event partners is Catholic Charities. Bill McCarthy serves as its executive director.
“Catholic Charities is rooted in neighborhoods throughout Baltimore, committed to building healthier and more vibrant communities where every person has the opportunity to achieve their greatest potential,” said McCarthy. “Gun violence can only be addressed if we do so together, which is why we are joining in this coalition for peace, centered on this gun buyback and community resource event.”
The gun buyback and resource fair take place on Saturday, August 5 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at Edmonson Village Shopping Center, 4400 Edmonson Avenue, Baltimore.
For more information on the event, please click this link.