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Saint Sabina Church Using $25,000 Donation For Gun Buyback Program Targeting Chicago Youths

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A South Side church is turning to young people to get guns off Chicago's streets. If you're 25 or younger, Saint Sabina will pay up to $200 to buy your gun.

The "gun buyback" comes after a weekend that saw more than 70 people shot, at least 10 of them fatally.

A few people came out Monday morning to turn over their guns to Saint Sabina. They didn't want to go on camera, but Rev. Michael Pfleger said the point of all this is taking whatever step – no matter how small – to end the gun violence that's plaguing the city.

"We've gotten two handguns and two rifles," Pfleger said Monday morning.

Those guns are coming from young people, age 25 and younger. They are the target of this gun buyback program, and Pfleger said the hope is more of them will come in to turn in their guns.

"One came in early this morning, rang the doorbell about 6 o'clock and said, 'I'll turn it in. I'll come back later. I just don't want anybody to see me,'" Pfleger said.

Folks at the church are focusing on young people, because they believe they are the hardest to get guns from. It's also why there's a cash incentive.

"If it's a handgun, they'll get $200; a rifle, $100; or if it's just a magazine or clip, $20," she said.

The church has set aside $25,000 overall to buy back guns, thanks to money donated by a local business specifically to get guns off the streets of Chicago.

"Does this end gun violence in Chicago? Of course not. It's just one more thing to try, and at this point with our city having the numbers we have, I believe we've got to try everything," Pfleger said.

That's because those same guns are continuously leading to shootings and killings in the streets of Chicago.

At least 71 people were shot in Chicago over the weekend, and at least 10 of them were killed.

At least five of the victims were under 18, including a 17-year-old who was killed.

That's why, in addition to cash, Saint Sabina is also offering mentoring, counseling, and even shelter to the young people who walk through these doors and turn in their guns.

"Many of our young people feel hopeless. They feel like there's nothing for them, there's no opportunities, all they got is the street, and we want to tell them no," Pfleger said.

The guns collected by Saint Sabina will be turned in at the 6th (Gresham) District CPD station.

The program continues every day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. until all the money has been paid out.

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