Amidst rising gun violence, Petersburg community groups plan gun buyback program

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Posted at 5:13 PM, Sep 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-08 20:30:11-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Petersburg, a city fed up with gun violence, murders, and shootings will soon see an effort to get guns off the street.

The city is teaming up with two churches, a statewide organization, and the police department to buy back guns.

"We're outraged at the gun violence that takes place night after night, day after day in our community," Gillfield Baptist Church Pastor George Lyons said. "We want to do everything we can do to take guns off the street that would otherwise kill an innocent person."

An innocent person like 10-year-old K'Von Morgan, who was playing video games in his bedroom one night when a bullet came through the wall, and killed him.

"When a kid cannot sit in their own home and play their own video game, to be murdered, something is wrong," president of the Community Transformers Foundation, Donald Barrow said.

Gillfield Baptist Church and Tabernacle Baptist Church have teamed up with the non-profit Community Transformers Foundation to help stop gun violence in the city of Petersburg.

The Community Transformers Foundation provided $25,000 towards the initiative.

"This is an effort to make a stand, a bold statement to the community that we're not ok with it," Lyons said.

As for the guns that the group wants to buy back?

"We don't have a problem with guns. We understand that people kill, not guns. However, guns in the wrong hands kill people. We want to get them out of those hands, we don't want to take your firearms," Barrow said.

The buyback program has the support of not only local community groups but the Petersburg Police as well.

"These guns getting into the hands of the wrong people and children in particular has been a result of irresponsible gunners, so that's what we're trying to eliminate," Petersburg Police Chief Travis Christian said.

The buyback program will be considered a success if two things happen according to Pastor Lyons.

"If one life can be saved. If one parent is spared the phone call," he said.

The gun buyback program will run from 8 a.m. till noon on Saturday, September 30 at Gillfield Baptist Church.

The purpose of the program is to not only buy back weapons, but to help stop the funerals of young people plaguing the city.

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