Charlotte church’s gun buyback sees fewer weapons

The Associate PressThe Associated Press

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CHARLOTTE — A Charlotte church that offers gift cards in exchange for guns aw a significant drop off in the number of weapons for the first time.

New Life Fellowship Center has been running the program for seven years, and John Kee said they collected 41 guns when the four-day program ended last week. The church usually gets more than 100 weapons. But he said that is still a lot of weapons off the streets that could be used in crimes.

“I absolutely believe this helps the community, even if it’s just 30 or 40 guns. We’re doing a service,” Kee told The Charlotte Observer.

Some gun-rights advocates set up across the street from the church this year and offered money for the guns.

The church gives $25 to $50 Walmart gift cards for handguns and up to $100 gift cards for assault rifles and shotguns. The guns are given to the police to destroy.

This year, a grandmother dropped off a semi-automatic, one parent gave the church two guns found in a closet, and a widow brought in her late husband’s rifle because she had no use for it.

Kee plans to run the program next year. He has a personal reason for it — 30 years ago he was the one carrying several weapons for protection as he sold drugs in a Charlotte neighborhood.

“I want to clean up what I poisoned,” he said.