Churches and police exchange gift cards for guns before the holidays

Members of Zion Church and First Baptist Church of Glenarden worked hand-in-hand with the Prince George’s County Police Department to collect guns in Saturday’s 10th annual gun buyback event.

On the grounds of First Baptist, people brought their unloaded firearms in their cars and were greeted by police officers who took possession of the unwanted guns. Officers then directed the donors to the inside of the church, where they received — in exchange for the rifle, shotgun or handgun — gift cards ranging in value from $75 to $175.

“We get a lot of guns off the street … they’re getting gifts for the holiday that they can take and do something good for their family,” said Dr. Madye Henson, chief external engagement and impact officer for Zion Church.

Last year the effort collected nearly 300 firearms. On Saturday, a steady stream of donors continued to pull into the parking lot of the towering white church.

Henson said people are compelled by various reasons to turn in guns. Some guns were the property of deceased relatives, while some people simply decided they no longer want a gun in the home.

Police are pleased by the efforts of the two churches which are aimed at making the community safer.

“Doing nothing is easy. Doing something is very hard. So after the words come the action and I’m thankful to have our faith-based community involved in the action part,” Police Chief Malik Aziz said.

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Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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