Gun buyback program hopes to cut down on violence

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013

Gun buyback

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Deputies admit there's been a wave of violence in Richmond County recently.

Local groups say they are trying to find new ways to cut down on the gang activity, especially the gun violence.

Tocarra Chandler is trying to get over the death of one of her friends, 19-year-old Marquez Eubanks. He was shot and killed in a gang-related shooting two weeks ago at a house party.

"I don't think anyone should have to go that way, especially if they have a bright future," Chandler said.

News 12 talked to Sgt. Shane McDaniel from the Richmond County Sheriff's Office about all of the recent violence.

"We have had a short spree, a good stint, of, I don't want to say violent crimes, but shootings basically," he said.

There have been 12 shootings in just one month, and three of those were confirmed as being gang related.

This is a sign of young lives being wasted, if you ask Rev. Christopher Waters with the Thankful Baptist Church.

"In the end, though, gangs only lead to two places. It leads to jail or it leads to the graveyard," Waters said.

Chandler has seen a lot of this violence affecting peers from school as well.

"I remember going to career day at school and see a lot of people I went to school with dressed as doctors, preachers, and then I see them on TV, and it's like, wow," Chandler said.

In an effort to cut down on the violence, the Future Successors group, with the help of the Sheriff's Office, is offering a way to get guns off the streets.

Anthony King works with the Future Successors group, which is a nonprofit organization.

"It's been proven that if we can get those stolen, unregistered guns off the street that it can have an impact on crime," King said.

The organization is buying back your unwanted and even unregistered guns on Saturday. All you have to do is bring your gun, unloaded and in a shoebox, to Antioch Baptist Church. Then you can pick up a $75 gift card, no questions asked.

"We don't want these weapons basically to get in the wrong hands," McDaniel said.

And while the gun buyback may not get all of the weapons off the streets, community leaders, like Waters, say it's a start.

"At least giving people an opportunity to bring a gun in and to get it out of their hands, so that they won't have it as an option," he said.

This is the second annual gun buyback. Last year, the group collected 22 guns, and they're hoping to double that number this year.

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office also wants everyone to know, if you have a gun that you aren't sure what to do with, you are always welcome to drop it off with them anytime of the year.

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