Prince George's County Gun Buyback Event

11:41 PM, Mar 29, 2013   |    comments
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CAPITOL HEIGHTS (WUSA9) -- At this strip mall in Prince George's County, the last thing you might expect to see is gun after gun going into this building.

But today, this is the site of a gun buyback event.

The Collective Empowerment Group lead the effort to put this together - their goal is simple.

Pastor Anthony Maclin says "we are looking for several hundred guns to come off the streets. If we bring the guns off the street, once less chance for some incident, a robbery, of course, a shooting a drive-by to take place."

Prince George's County police say crime rates have been falling in this community and they hope by holding events like this one, that trend will continue.

Police collected dozens of firearms.

In return, they received a gift card for either one hundred or two hundred dollars.

Critics say some weapons brought to events like this don't even work or they are weapons passed down by a loved one who has died, so it truly doesn't help prevent crime.

Maclin counters, "When you are staring down the barrel of a gun, you don't know if it's working or not. I don't know if you take a gun from my father's generation an put it into the hands of someone in my son's generation that they would have the same morals my father had." 

One man -- who didn't want to be identified -- brought in 8 guns.

His wife actually went around their neighborhood, collected each one and made the trip here to turn them in.

He said, "you see all the crime on the news, we thank the lord that it has not affected our family and we pray for those who lost loved ones."

This is the grassroots effort to fight gun violence.

Meanwhile, at the state level, Maryland lawmakers continue to work on gun control legislation - making the state laws much tougher.

It's been a fight though as the debate rages on banning certain weapons.

As that fight continues in the Maryland capitol, community members say they hope what is happening here today makes at least a slight difference.

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