School closings and delays

Dozens of toy guns collected in effort to reduce gun violence

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — Community activists are joining forces to try to reduce gun violence.

Their effort begins with getting toy guns out of the hands of young people.

Hundreds of parents and their children came to the Boys and Girls Club in Cleveland Saturday with one purpose — to get toy guns out of their homes.

Even six-year-old Timothy Gilbert knew why.

“Because guns are not appropriate gifts for kids,” he said.

The Gloria Pointer Teen Movement and the Rid-All Foundation, along with the National Council of Jewish Women, organized the toy gun buyback program.

“What we’re trying to say now is put the guns down,” community activist Yvonne Pointer said.

The toy gun buyback was talked about a year ago, but, the death of Tamir Rice three weeks ago moved the group to take action. The 12-year-old was shot by a Cleveland police officer. The gun the boy had turned out to be an airsoft pistol.

“The violence in our city is just out of control,” Sarah Dido said.

She and her children turned in 10 toy guns.

“My kids are afraid they may be mistaken for real guns and get shot, hurt that’s why we turned in all the toy guns in our house today,” she added.

Anyone who turned in a gun received a comic book and a $25 Dave’s Supermarket gift card.

In all, 120 toy guns were collected. Seventy-eight gift cards were handed out to families.

The plan is for all the toy guns to be melted down and turned in artwork that will be a lasting reminder of this step taken towards making a safer community.