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Also makes you wonder how many members of the clergy are on FEMA's payroll...
By MIKE LEE firstname.lastname@example.org
FORT WORTH — Linda Lackey walked up to a church Saturday afternoon with her father’s pistol in a shoebox.
She left the gun in the hands of a Fort Worth police officer at the city’s first gun buyback program in 15 years.
"I don’t want a gun in the house because of my grandkids," said Lackey, 61. She said she could have sold it, but, "I’d rather get it off the street."
Next to her, Dante Kinney, 18, had an old revolver in a plastic bag. A relative left it at his mother’s house.
"Just to get it off the streets, I guess," he said of his reasons. "It’s not needed; it’s just there."
People turned in about 140 guns in four hours, including 100 in the first hour. The city might have been able to collect more if it hadn’t run out of the money, contributed by private donors.
The parking lot at Truevine Missionary Baptist Church was half-full and lines formed in front of the folding tables, where police officers collected the guns, secured them with plastic zip ties and handed out $50 gift certificates.
Buybacks were popular in the early 1990s and were credited with getting thousands of guns off the streets in other cities. But Fort Worth police never got much reaction when they held similar events, and the city canceled the program in 1994.
City Councilman Frank Moss helped organize Saturday’s event as part of a friendly rivalry with Dallas Councilman Dwaine Caraway, who started organizing gun buybacks earlier this year. Dallas police collected 147 guns at their first buyback in February and 175 Saturday.
Moss said the buybacks in the ’90s were held too far from affected communities and didn’t get any publicity. Saturday’s event was in the heart of a historically African-American neighborhood and heavily promoted on hip-hop station KBFB/97.9 FM "The Beat" and R&B station KSOC/94.5 FM "KSOUL."
"What Dallas and Fort Worth have done is make the whole region safer," Caraway said.
Critics of buybacks say they don’t get guns out of the hands of criminals and may encourage people to steal guns. Lt. Fred Garcia, whose district includes east and southeast Fort Worth, disagreed.
"From the people I’ve seen, they’re saying, 'I’ve got a gun, I don’t want it stolen and I don’t want my grandkids getting hold of it,’ " he said. "Are we going to take every gun out of every gangster’s hand? No. Maybe we take a gun out of a child’s hand."
Indeed, a few of the guns looked ancient. But police also collected a couple of sawed-off shotguns, a semi-automatic replica of a Thompson submachine gun and dozens of handguns, including a few sleek new semi-automatics. The weapons will be destroyed, Garcia said.
Pastor Jack Crane of Truevine Baptist, who grew up in the neighborhood, said it’s educational for youths to see people openly reject guns.
"Our community can be like the community of old. It should be a safe place," he said.
Scott A. Johnson - End Times Current Events and Bible Study
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Last edited by DisgruntledTunaFan; 08-16-2009 at 10:03 PM..
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