Faith-based network looks for your support in getting hundreds of guns off Montgomery Co. streets

A faith-based gun violence prevention group is asking for donations to help fund a “no questions asked” buyback event that hopes to get 300 guns off the streets of Montgomery County, Maryland.

The D.C. area Interfaith Gun Violence Prevention Network is sponsoring the event which will be held on April 20 in Germantown.

“We should take the weapons of war, and make them into ways that we can actually thrive together as a community,” said Rev. Holly Jackson, pastor of the United Church of Christ of Seneca Valley in Germantown which is hosting the buyback.

This event will be the first faith-based, “up-county” gun buyback program in a section of Montgomery County that the network said in recent years has seen an uptick in gun violence.

“It’s really important for us to serve our community and figure out how we can make this a better place for people not just to survive, but thrive. And part of that is making sure that people are safe, and that the threat of violence is not hanging over their head all the time,” said Jackson.

The interfaith network was founded in 2017 by the GVP Ministry of the Washington National Cathedral and Temple Sinai. It includes a coalition of volunteers from over 40 churches, synagogues and temples in the D.C. area.

The network’s mantra is “Good for Guns” under the philosophy that every gun turned in is one less gun that could be used in a serious crime, homicide, suicide, domestic violence incident or accidentally discharged by a child.

“There are things we can do, there are differences that we can make,” Jackson sad.

And perhaps the program could spark more change down the line.

Jackson said the program has made a difference in communities all over the country.

“It’s really important for us not to feel as if we are powerless and helpless,” Jackson said. “But to stand up and say, we can work on legislative impacts and advocacy.”

The group said it’s raising money to cover the cost of gift cards which will be given to people in exchange for functional guns.

So far it has raised over $19,000, but its goal is $30,000, with hopes of getting 200-300 guns off the street. Last week, the group received its largest donation yet: $5,000 from the Washington National Cathedral GVP Ministry, in honor of wealthy philanthropist Trudy Scott.

All donations are 100% tax deductible and you can donate online.

How to turn in guns

Those who turn in functioning handguns, rifles and shotguns at the April event will receive a $100 grocery store gift card. The program will exchange a $200 food gift card for functioning military assault-style weapons and privately manufactured firearms (“ghost guns”).

The event is in cooperation with the Montgomery County Offices of the Sheriff and State’s Attorney, but all people who turn in guns can do so anonymously with no questions asked or identification requested. Sheriff Maxwell Uy also assured the network that all of the guns surrendered will be completely destroyed and not re-purposed.

Community members must remain in their cars at all times and guns must be unloaded with no ammunition before being transported in the truck. Nonfunctioning firearms and ammunition also will be accepted, but with no exchange of compensation. Gift card quantities are limited and subject to availability.

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Cheyenne Corin

Cheyenne Corin joined the WTOP News team in February 2023. Prior to this role she was a Montgomery County, Maryland, bureau reporter at WDVM/DC News Now.

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