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Forty-five guns – 26 handguns, 15 rifles and 4 shotguns – were turned in at the gun-buy back program held on Dec. 15 at Christ Temple Missionary Baptist Church, 1711 Simpson St., said Commander Jay Parrott of the Evanston Police Department. People who turned in a gun were given $100 cash for each gun. They were assured no police enforcement action would be taken as a result of turning in a gun.
“I’ve heard we have been very successful in our numbers,” said Carolyn Murray who was at the church for the buy-back program.
“One gun is successful to me. It’s a step in the right direction. It’s one less opportunity to have a victim in the streets,” she said.
On Oct. 1, at a community meeting held to share reactions to the Sept. 22 shooting death of Dajae Coleman, Ms. Murray announced that the City was planning to hold the gun buy-back program.
Two months later on Nov. 29, her son Justin Murray was shot to death while standing with several other persons in front of her mother’s home in the 1800 block of Brown Avenue. Ms. Murray said Justin was “definitely not” the target and was an innocent victim.
On Dec. 8 and 10 there were two more shootings. One left a young man in critical condition. The other resulted in a fatality.
“The gun buy-back is just the beginning of what needs to be a makeover in this community,” Ms. Murray told the RoundTable. “The violence is not going to go away unless we strategically plan to counter it.
“I believe that people know they have guns in their houses,” Ms. Murray said. “I believe the younger generation is in a lot more control as far as giving up information about crime activities, about turning in their weapons, seeking opportunities for jobs. It’s going to take the City, it’s going to take the churches, it’s going to take the parents to come forth and actually make changes in this community, rather than just talk about changes in this community.”
Peter Braithwaite, Second Ward alderman, said, “This is a step in the right direction to solve a larger community problem.”
“I would like to thank the Evanston Community Foundation for their efforts in helping organize this important community event along with their generous financial support,” said Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl in a prepared statement.
“I would also like to thank Evanston resident Carolyn Murray for suggesting the idea, Northwestern University, the Cherry Family Foundation and NorthShore University Health System Evanston Hospital for their help and most generous financial support that will go far in removing dangerous weapons off our streets and protecting our innocent youth from gun violence,” the Mayor added.