Successful Gun Buyback Follows Violent Night
CLEVELAND — A community effort to get guns off Cleveland streets follows a deadly night of violence. There were seven separate shootings in the city, including a fatality.
Cleveland police held its annual Gun Buyback program outside the former Second District Headquarters on Payne Avenue on Saturday.
The process was simple. Anyone turning in a working gun would receive a $100 gas, Target or Dave’s Supermarket gift card and some sports tickets.
Jan Cavanagh of Cleveland’s West Park neighborhood brought in guns that once belonged to her father, who passed away.
“Four guns I turned in. So, I got $400 in gift cards and Cavs tickets, and I think it’s great,” Cavanagh said.
While people enjoyed the incentives, most came willingly with one purpose — to get guns off the streets.
Clevelander Ruby Collins turned in a gun that she had for years. “I didn’t want to use it, and I didn’t want anyone else to use it with someone possibly getting hurt or killed,” she said.
Sgt. Sammy Morris, the public information officer for the Cleveland police, said the Gun Buyback program gives people the chance to get guns out of their homes.
“Where you have your accidental shootings, or if a home is broken into, a theft of a firearm or a firearm is lost,” Sgt. Morris added.
Of the seven overnight shootings in Cleveland, one was fatal.
Police say a 33-year-old man was shot and killed outside an east side beverage store Friday night.
“Most of these shootings is sadly almost the same scenario: argument, fight, shots fired,” Sgt. Morris said.
Cavanagh was glad to turn in those four guns. “Guns are no good, so we just need to get them off the street. There’s too much going on out there. Too much bad,” she added.
While there were some shotguns, people mostly brought in handguns and revolvers.
Kenneth Carr turned in one that looked like a pen, but it was actually a zip gun.
“I had bought a storage unit and found this gun inside this storage unit. And, it is something very dangerous, cause it actually looks like an ink pen and it’s very able to be concealed anywhere. I am glad to get it up off the streets,” Carr said.
All the guns that were turned in will never be back on the street. They will be part of a gun burn.
“Our partners at ArcelorMittal, they’ll melt them down and they will be used in future products,” Sgt. Morris added.
Cleveland police see the Gun Buyback program as a success. In just this one day, 309 firearms were turned in and taken off the streets.