A deadly summer in Chicago prompted a well-known church to tweak its long-running initiative to get guns off the street.
The Gun BuyBack program, led by St. Sabina Church, has run for more than a decade, but this year was different. It was targeted for those 25 and under.
“A lot of the people being impacted by gun violence are young. Some of the perpetrators are youth and other youth victims are being scared mentally,” said Trevon Bosley, one of the church’s Bold Resistance Against Violence Everywhere (B.R.A.V.E) young leaders.
There have been more than 600 shootings in the city since June, according to statistics from the Chicago Police Department.
Bosley, 23, joined St. Sabina when he was 10 after losing family members to gun violence.
The program has a “no questions asked” policy and those who turned in firearms were offered $100 for rifles, $200 for handguns and $20 for high capacity magazines. No cash was disbursed until they met with church leaders to discuss their involvement in the streets and opportunities for moving forward in a better direction.
“We want to connect with them and not only get guns off the street, but provide help. The real victory is to change lives and give young brothers some hope,” St. Sabina’s lead pastor, Rev. Michael Pleger.
More than 200 firearms were turned in, said Bosley, including 47 rifles and an assault weapon.
The weapons were destroyed by police, according to the department.