WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Less than 24 hours after a shooting in the city of Wilmington, police partner with local churches to curb the amount of firearms on the streets.
Three local pastors agreed to offer their churches as location sites for the first ever gun buyback effort.
Grace United Methodist Church in downtown Wilmington was one of the drop sites for the program. Pastor Scott Dodson said that so many people showed up to sell their weapons, they actually ran out of money.
"We bought as many firearms as we could," said Dodson. "We ran out of money at 9:30 and since then we've had a number of people surrender their guns because they didn't want them in their homes anymore."
However, that didn't stop them from collecting dangerous weapons off the streets and putting them back in the hands of law enforcement.
"Any kind of violence that we can prevent is fantastic," said Dodson.
The program collected 23 long range guns, 44 hand guns, and one assault rifle.
The event was named after two innocent victims of gun violence, 19 year old Joshua Proutey and 8 year old Demetrius Green.
Organizer, Patrick Holmes said it's all part of a comprehensive effort to clean up the streets.
"When I come in town, I want to make sure I can get back home," said Holmes. "Taking guns off the streets will allow you, me, and everybody to stop reporting everyday of a gunshot."
Police processed the weapons, submitting some as evidence to pending court cases.
Money came from private donors, some organizers even spent money out of their own pocket
Critics say programs like this don't make a difference, but organizers were pleased with the feedback they received.
"There's a pent up demand for folks to turn in firearms," said Dodson. "My hope in the future is that we get corporate sponsors to give us a lot of money to buy more."
Organizers say the gun buyback program was so successful that they're already planning another one for later this year or early next year.