Leave it to Chicago to throw good money at bad ideas in an attempt to end their city’s violent gun crime. But rather than going after criminals committing gun crimes, they’re appealing to citizens to turn in their unused and wanted firearms.
More than 250 guns were turned into Chicago police at St. Sabina Church on Saturday. Police say the gun buyback may have taken hundreds of guns off the streets, but admit they “aren’t the ones causing problems”. Yet Chicago’s police superintendent said that with over 1,000 shootings already this year; gun buybacks are a step toward battling the city’s gun violence.
So which one is it?
“We’ve gotten a number of different types of long guns, shotguns, rifles, handguns .38s, .22s, a wide variety of weapons were brought in today,” said Eric Washington, Deputy Chief of the Community Policing Program. “If that weapon is in a home and it’s burglarized, it’s one of the first things going out. Like I said, it’s going to end up back on the street in somebody else’s hands, and potentially end up killing some kid — a resident of the city of Chicago.”
That’s exactly why resident Pam Carpenter came to St. Sabina Catholic Church.
“I’m here turning in a rifle. Just to get it out of the house. I have a young nephew that we don’t want to be around it,” Carpenter said.
“The thing about a gun, it’s your constitutional right to have it, but the ones that shouldn’t have it should be in this program and turned in,” said Sal Dandrea, who lives in Orland Park. Dandrea said he didn’t want an old family heirloom to get stolen, so he brought it in.
“I brought a pistol butt, I felt it was better that it be destroyed,” Dandrea said.
Father Michael Pfleger, the pastor at Saint Sabina, has been working for years to help curtail violence in the city.
He expressed disappointment and outrage at crime statistics that show (so far this year) Chicago has had more people shot than New York and Los Angeles combined.
“We’ve got to deal in America with this love affair of guns. Somehow we think guns make us safer, when every statistic is saying it doesn’t,” said Fr. Pfleger. “We’ve had 1,030 people shot in Chicago, but this is absolutely outrageous.”
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says he knows many of the people who would come to a gun buyback event aren’t the ones causing problems.
But he says he has a message for the criminals, too.
“To those individuals, either turn your lives around or we’re going to bring everything we have at our disposal to come at ’em,” he said.
How’s that workin for ya, Chicago?