Two mega-churches in Prince George’s County, Maryland, had the idea that people may be more comfortable handing their guns over in their place of worship.
On Saturday, Zion Church and First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Upper Marlboro held a gun buyback event in partnership with Prince George’s County Police.
“It really is a partnership to help galvanize our work in coming together to help make the community safer in working in partnership with the police,” said Madye Henson-McCannon, Zion Church’s chief external engagements and impact officer.
“The church is a trusted place for many people to come. And with that we wanted to allow ourselves to be really that venue to help get guns off of the street.”
Henson-McCannon said this has been a partnership since 2016 and, in the last two years, the churches have been able to collect over 425 guns and gifted more than $52,000 to the community.
In exchange for each gun, participants receive cash card gifts depending on the type of gun. Shotguns and rifles can be traded in for $75, handguns for $125 and automatic or semi-automatic guns for $175.
“There are people who will come and they have been storing up those guns for the year,” said Henson-McCannon. “Or they have been going through their homes and saying ‘what do we not need in our house’ to make it safer. And many of them, when they do return those guns, they actually look at it as an opportunity to get a jumpstart on what they need to make the holidays bright for their families.”
Although the program is in partnership with police, the exchange is completely anonymous. The event is on Saturday, Nov. 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Glenarden.