Philadelphia is asking local parents to turn in firearms in an effort to fight an ongoing epidemic of gun violence that has resulted in 110 residents under the age of 18 being shot this year.
The gun turn-in initiative is asking for all parents to search their homes for weapons and drop them at designated local spots, no questions asked. Four locations across the city will be accepting guns this Saturday as well as the following Saturday. The time, locations, and dates are as follows:
• Dec. 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Taylor Memorial Baptist Church, 3817 Germantown Ave.
• Dec. 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 419 S. 6th St.
Bilal Qayyum, president of the Father’s Day Rally Committee, was quoted in Inquirer.com as saying, “We’re calling on parents to do room checks of your house, and if there are any guns that you find, you can turn those guns into police — no questions asked.”
Qayyum added, “We’re asking parents to take responsibility.”
It has been reported that acting Police Commissioner Christine M. Coulter stated that those who turn in weapons will not face prosecution. It was also reported that at the locations where guns are turned in, they will not require identification from participants.
Coulter stated that, “That one gun, or two guns, or five guns, or 20 guns will all be ones that we now know are not going to be used against our children, [or] used by our young people to settle disputes.”
CBS reports that over the weekend, there have been three children shot, including an 11-year-old grazed with a bullet while walking Friday in Southwest Philadelphia.
In previous programs, officials offered incentives such as gift certificates or money for those who turned in weapons.
Councilman Kenyatta Johnson told outlets that, “I don’t believe you should have to give out a card for people to go shopping in order for them to do the right thing.”
Johnson continued, “If we don’t deal with this issue right now, we are on the verge of losing a whole generation of young people to gun violence. This is a crisis, and it is being treated as such.”
Philly’s turn-in program follows several other cities, states and countries that have taken similar “gun amnesty” style measures. ABC reported that earlier this year, Chicago did something similar. They had a gun buyback program, where they offered $100 per gun turn-in and additionally offered $10 for BB guns, air-guns and replica guns.
Across the pond in the UK, as recent as 2017, there was a similar two-week program when people were asked to turn in their guns. Before 2017, in 2014, England and Wales had a program where 6,000 weapons were handed in, according to BBC.
CNN reports that in Australia, a three-month program from July to September 2017 resulted in a staggering 57,324 firearms being surrendered. Additionally, 2,432 parts and accessories were also turned in.
A CNN report from August of this year revealed that Americans own nearly half (46 percent) of the estimated 875 million civilian-owned guns worldwide.
No official number has been released for the turn-in that occurred in Philly on Saturday, Dec. 7, but organizers have disclosed that it was only a handful. Nevertheless, they consider every gun taken off the streets a success.