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'It Helps Immensely:' Rankin Police Host Gun Buyback In Effort To Prevent Unnecessary Violence

RANKIN (KDKA) - Getting guns off of the street and out of harm's way was what community members in Rankin were trying to do on Saturday with a gun buyback event.

They're also aiming to prevent unnecessary violence.

Instead of finding the same guns with markers on them at crime scenes, on Saturday, police put the decision in the hands of the public to get rid of unneeded firearms.

"Everybody around the table could give you a reason as to why these guns should end up here instead of the wrong hands," said Rankin Polic Chief Ryan Wooten. "For me, it's the tragedy stories. A kid getting ahold of these firearms and another kid losing his life."

Residents traded weapons for gift cards and Wooten said the buyback protects the youth.

"We go to these calls where unfortunately Penn Hills where the young child lost his life," he said. "We're there, we're seeing that we live with that. The school district deals with the traumatization of a kid losing his life to a firearm that could've been turned in and destroyed."

While people who did turn in their guns, like Williette Jackson and Ron Plesh said it will help stop accident shootings and some intentional ones.

They say everyone must step in.

"It helps immensely," Plesh said. "Every little bit helps so whatever you're doing here, and other people are doing it helps."

"If you have any guns at home that aren't being used or don't belong to you or you've found it, it's not doing you any good to find a gun then it gets in the wrong hands to be used," Jackson added.

Police officers are also carrying gun locks on them to hand to those who want to safely store their guns at home.

Rankin Police said that after Saturday, all of the guns will be taken to a separate location and destroyed, permanently keeping them out of harm's way.

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