Denver gun buy-back collects 15 weapons
The Gun Buy-Back Turned Into a Gun Give-Back Event
Organizers of a supposed gun buy-back had dozens of people lining up to turn in their weapons, although only 15 were collected today for the Denver Police Department to destroy and melt down.
Held at New Covenant Christian Church in Denver to raise awareness about gun violence, the gun buy-back turned into a gun give-back event when the program could not afford to pay $50 as initially advertised.
The Rev. Reginald Holmes, a pastor at the church, said about 40 people with a total of 120 guns showed up but were turned off to the idea of just donating their guns. "It's a tough economy, people want an incentive," Holmes said.
Denver Million Family March Organization leader Alvertis Simmons said a lack of response and support from the community has been an "appalling silence." "It's not always about the money. I asked people to come, to care about safety, to care about the community," Simmons said. "We did this to make a statement against gun violence."
The Rev. Holmes said the politics surrounding gun control was likely a factor for the absence, from lawmakers and the Broncos football team alike.
"We are not talking about anybody's 2nd Amendment rights here, we are targeting illegal guns," Holmes said. "For those who have been directly affected by gun violence, like the Denver Broncos, they should come do something." He referred to the New Year's Day 2007 shooting of Broncos player Darrent Williams.
Tony Veasley of Aurora came to drop off a 9 mm handgun he said he found on his driveway about two weeks ago.
"I'm rich at heart. The money is not important, it can't save a life," Veasley said. "We need to save these kids and get these guns off the streets. It's real out here."
The Rev. Holmes also called the day ironic, citing several recent shootings, including one that occurred earlier in the morning at Vinyl nightclub about 4 miles away.
"We just can't keep going to sleep at night and pretend it didn't happen," he said. "God's sending us a message, and that is to do something about gun violence."