Gun buyback takes 38 guns off the street

Officials say they hope to ‘break the cycle of guns on the streets’

By Kyle Carrozza, Staff Writer, The Times

Police officers stand next to the guns collected during Saturday's gun buyback. The department collected 38 guns, a combination of shotguns, rifles, pistols, and ammunition. The department hopes that the collection will reduce the number of firearms available to potential criminals as well as reducing the number of crimes related to acquiring those guns.

Coatesville police officers, including Chief Jack Laufer III (second from right) stand next to the guns collected during Saturday’s gun buyback. The department collected 38 guns, a combination of shotguns, rifles, pistols, and ammunition.

COATESVILLE – The Coatesville Police Department collected 38 guns at their gun buyback program held at the Coatesville Community Center on Saturday.

Offering a $100 Visa gift card for each gun up to two, residents of Coatesville, the surrounding areas, and as far away as Royersford turned in 15 long guns, 23 handguns, and ammunition.

“All in all, I think it went well,” said Officer Rodger Ollis. “That’s homes that are safer with less of a chance for accidental discharge.”

Police Chief Jack Laufer III said that the department realizes that criminals were not the ones turning in their guns but the guns turned in will mean fewer firearms available to potential criminals.

“We were under no illusions that criminals would be returning guns today; what we hope for is to break the cycle of guns on the streets,” said Laufer.

Laufer said in most cases of gun crime, the weapon used was illegally acquired. Through the buyback program, the police collected guns from owners who no longer wanted the responsibility of owning a weapon, which could lead to not just gun violence but other crimes, such as burglarizing houses to obtain a gun, illegal gun sales, and exchanges of drugs for firearms.

The program, which saw people lined up outside of the door even before doors opened, was not solely a police based effort. Businesses, services organizations, and private donors throughout the area contributed money and services.

The Valley Creek Crisis Center, Community Mental Health Services, Inc, New Life in Christ Fellowship, and The Coatesville Youth Initiative also had representatives on hand to offer services to people turning in their guns.

“We’re hoping to make the streets safer,” said Erin Anderson of the New Life in Christ Fellowship. “As a church, it’s our duty to care; we should be a safe haven.”

The fellowship also provides services for people returning from incarceration so that they are less likely to return to crime.

The Valley Creek Crisis Center and Community Mental Health Services provide counseling for those affected by gun violence as well as those who have thought about committing it.

“Our staff works with individuals who threaten suicide and threaten other with guns. We work with the police to make sure people are safe,” said Kevin Moreno of the Valley Creek Crisis Center.

The guns collected will be destroyed and melted down.

Starting out the day with enough funds to pay for 50 firearms, the program was left with a surplus. Ollis said that the leftover money will be held for a future buyback program, possibly in autumn.

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