The event’s success was reportedly spurred on by the tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn., last Friday where 27 people were brutally executed by a gunman, 20 of them young children.
Many firearm owners who took part in the violence prevention initiative expressed horror at Friday’s tragedy. The event, which was sponsored by Klein’s ShopRite and operated by a nonprofit called UpLift Solutions, rewarded a $100 grocery store gift card in exchange for each gun that was handed over to law enforcement officials.
One elderly woman, Sonia White, told the The Sun that the service revolver she was turning in belonged to her husband who was a corrections officer. “After the Connecticut incident, it was time to get it out of the house,” said the 65-year-old woman, who admits she broke down when picking up her grandchildren from school on Friday.
Gary Barksdale, 30, handed over two rifles into the waiting hands of officers at the event. The young man, who was accompanied by his dad, also claimed that the Newtown shooting was his motivation to surrender his firearms. “That really motivated me to come out,” he told The Sun.
People who stood in line waiting to dispose of their guns had them wrapped in everything from towels, to shopping bags, to large trash bags. After 12:00 p.m., the line stretched down the block as many waited patiently to enter St. Paul Baptist Church in the city’s Coldstream Homestead Montebello area.
The Baltimore Police Department recovered some 2,000 guns during arrests this year alone. A city sponsored buyback program back in 2005 resulted in about 1,700 weapons surrendered during a week’s time.