On Dec. 5, Evanston Police will partner with the Evanston Community Foundation, Christ Temple Missionary Baptist Church, and Carolyn Murray to host a gun buyback event. The event, from noon to 4 p.m., will be held at that church, 1711 Simpson St.

The event, open to residents of Evanston, Skokie and the north side of Chicago, is amnesty-based: No arrest will be made for those turning in guns.

Ms. Murray said she began researching gun buybacks more than eight years ago; she was hearing gunfire regularly in her Fifth Ward neighborhood. In a period of a few months, several young Evanston men were killed by gunfire, including her son Justin, who was shot and killed in November of 2012.

Earlier that year, Justin had been helping her with the gun buyback program. “The history of it was that there was always gun trade-in,” Ms. Murray told the RoundTable, “but no guns were being turned in.

“Justin was in charge of talking to people in his age group. He talked to students at Northwestern and even they said, ‘Not at the police station.’

“So where? Churches.”

She also said she talked to some ex-felons, who advised her to add gun clips, ammunition and other accessories to the buy-back program. Those who turn in a gun will receive $100.

Although the gun buyback program is ongoing, it is not an annual event. “Evanston has been more receptive to gun buybacks at some times more than others,” Ms. Murray said. “But it’s a community effort. … It calls attention to gun violence – suicide, home invasions and accidental shootings, as well as murder.”

Amnesty-based gun buyback events are an opportunity to get guns out of the community and disposed of properly. 

“It’s a community effort,” Ms. Murray said.

Guns that are turned in are destroyed in accordance with local and federal guidelines.

Rules for the Gun Buyback

  • Guns must be unloaded, fully assembled, and operable.

·         Weapons should be transported in a case, bag, box or other supporting item or in the trunk of a vehicle.

·         Participant must have ID and be a resident of Evanston, Skokie or the north side of Chicago.

·         The event is first come, first served.

·         The buyback will be $100 per gun. 

·         Ammunition and other gun-related items can also be brought in.

·         There will be no arrests, as this is amnesty-based.

·         Masks are required to attend the event.

·         Social distancing must be practiced.

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...