Getting guns out of the wrong hands is the first step toward making any community safer. That's why today's gun buyback program by Tampa police is such a promising response to a spate of senseless killings.
Police Chief Jane Castor came up with the plan after holding a community meeting to discuss recent shootings in Ybor City and East Tampa. Five people, aged 16 to 53, have been shot and killed in Tampa since October. The motives varied — a robbery, a slight. But there was a common denominator: a gun in the wrong hands.
Thanks to the generosity of the Tampa Bay Lightning, which donated $12,500, organizers of today's buyback will pay $50 for each gun brought to Seminole Heights Baptist Church. Those selling may do so anonymously; police simply ask that the guns be unloaded. Officers will be on hand to safely take possession of any gun and a mobile team will even be available to those who cannot transport a weapon to the church. The program runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the church, at 801 E. Hillsborough Avenue.
Police in communities across America have taken thousands of guns off the streets through these buyback programs. This is a great way for family members to step forward to protect both their communities and their loved ones.
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