Getting guns out of the hands of drug dealers, gang members and children was the goal of a gun buyback program held today in Murfreesboro. But do these types of gun buyback events really make the streets safer? Police say there is no doubt.
For Murfreesboro NAACP President Kenny Williams, getting guns off the streets and out of the hands of criminals is personal.
"I've lost a baby brother who was 16 years old and gunned down," Williams said. "He was shot seven times in the chest-stomach area in Minneapolis, MN."
That's why he teamed up with Murfreesboro police and Central Christian Church to host a gun buyback program.
"With the lives needlessly and uselessly being lost, we need to try to curtail some of the violence that is happening with the guns," Williams said. "By getting them off the streets that's one less person we have to worry about being injured, or killed."
It didn't take long for the guns to start coming in.
"This gun is worn out, it won't fire, I haven't shot it in 30 years," said gun buyback participant Dean Gold.
Folks who brought in guns received a $25 gift card from Kroger in exchange.
Cecil Smith turned in a gun that her husband bought for protection 20 years ago. She's just happy to get rid of it.
"He got this pistol to keep in the bedroom," Smith said. "I never wanted it on my shelf, and I thank God that today I can be rid of it."
Some critics say gun buyback programs like these really don't make the streets any safer, but police say they beg to differ.
"This gun - there is no way it can fall in the hands of a criminal," said Maj. Clyde Adkison with Murfreesboro police. "If we get just one gun, to us it's worth it."
The police said this is not an anti-gun program. They just want to keep guns out of the hands of gang members, drug dealers and children.
"You know the old saying, 'if you want one you can get one,'" said Arthur Hardin.
Six guns were collected within the first 30 minutes of the buyback program. By the time it was over 20 guns were turned in. Police are hoping to make this an annual event.
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