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Gun Buy-Back Program Aims to Make MN Streets Safer

November 5, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS - Last year, 109 people in Minnesota died by the trigger of someone else's gun, according to the state Department of Safety. Public safety groups have joined forces and organized a gun buy-back day in an effort to get guns off the street. Anyone turning in a firearm will receive gift cards: $100 for automatic guns and $50 for revolvers - with no questions asked.

Deseria Galloway with the Twin Cities Anti-Violence Coalition says it's time to get these weapons out of the hands of people who don't need them.

"You have people that are innocently being shot. They were not the intended target but they are killed or injured at the hands of these same weapons that land in the hands of our young people - our young men."

Well over 400 guns were turned in back in 2005. The "Bury Our Guns, Not Our People" program hopes to double that number on Nov. 20 in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Some criminal studies have suggested gun buy-backs are not effective in reducing gun violence. But Galloway says five police departments in the Twin Cities area, including St. Paul and Minneapolis, are supporting this effort.

Opponents argue that gun-buy backs provide a ready source of safe cash for crime guns. Galloway points out that at least it's an effort to get guns off the streets.

"Here in the state of Minnesota we are noting that the firearms are landing in the hands of children, young adult males between the ages of 13 and 27 years old. We are trying to do something about that."

Galloway says she hopes programs like this also bring awareness to the gun violence issue in the state.

Because the groups need financial assistance to make this program successful, they are asking for cash donations by mail or online. information and locations of the buy-back initiative are available at www.endgunviolence.com.

The buy-back will take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Gospel Temple Church of God in Christ, 247 Grotto St N., St. Paul, and at Shiloh Temple International Ministries, 1201 W. Broadway Ave., Minneapolis.

Laura Thornquist, Public News Service - MN