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Philadelphia Gets Over 200 Firearms Off Streets During Buyback Event Amid Rising Gun Violence

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- In light of shattered homicide records in the City of Philadelphia, some leaders got behind an initiative to get guns off the streets, figuring it would do some good.

On Saturday, Philadelphia Police and City Council teamed up with one goal, getting guns off of Philly's streets, at two buybacks at Yesha Ministries in South Philadelphia and Greater Exodus Baptist Church in North Philadelphia.

Organizers hoped to collect 100 firearms, giving away $100 ShopRite gift cards for each one turned over.

"They gave out 100 gift cards in 90 minutes," Councilmember Cindy Bass said. "So that means every one-and-a-half minutes, there was someone there with a gun, turning it in, getting it off the streets, getting it out of the neighborhood."

In total, 224 guns were taken back, a record day in what is trending once again to be a record year in gun violence.

"We have to get these guns out of the hands of particularly young people who I think sometimes don't even recognize the damage they can do," Bass said. "You have a lot of people with a lot of guns right now. That's the only way that they seem to know how to solve a problem and we need to teach and show that there's a better way."

"It's all about making sure that the guns that are turned in today don't end up in the hands of young people," Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson said.

The city has already recorded 33 homicides as of Friday, including a 9-year-old girl shot at home by her 5-year-old cousin on Wednesday.

"It's such a tragedy, but it's such an avoidable tragedy," Bass said. "This didn't have to happen. This young lady, she didn't have to die, this didn't have to occur. There's more we can do and we all need to do it."

"Being a white person, I need to step up and I think it's not a Black problem in the Black neighborhoods, I think it's everybody's problem," Greenfield Foundation founder Emily Clark said.

Greenfield Foundation donated the gift cards. Organizers are planning another gun buyback in February, noting that while that Saturday is just one piece of the problem, "every gun off the street makes our community safer," Bass said.

In addition to Saturday's gun buyback programs, anyone can turn in an unwanted gun at any point no questions asked at their local police department.

CBS3's Alicia Roberts reports.

For a list of gun violence resources in Philadelphia, click here.


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