There are now 53 fewer guns that could do harm in Evanston and surrounding communities.
The weapons were purchased as part of the city’s 9th annual gun buyback program on Saturday, open to residents of Evanston, Skokie and the North Side of Chicago.
The weapons were bought by the police department for $100 apiece, no questions asked. The event, at the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, included amnesty. No one would be charged if the gun was obtained illegally or involved in a crime.
Ammunition was also purchased for $25.
Funding was provided by individual and charitable contributors including from the Evanston Community Foundation.
Community activist Carolyn Murray, whose son was gunned down in 2012, has led the buyback program since it began.
“We’ve experienced violence in our city,” Murray explained. “I did not want to just be talking about it.”
Although the timing is just coincidence, the buyback took place less than a week after a 17-year old was shot and killed, and four other teens were wounded just a few blocks from the buyback location.
Evanston police say two of the wounded victims remain in the hospital, one in critical condition.
Interim Police Chief Aretha Barnes said, “It’s about getting the guns off the streets. Whether it’s one gun or five. Today we had 53.”
Barnes said 53 weapons is the largest single day purchase since the buyback program began. The guns will be destroyed.
The Rev. Taurus Scurlock, senior pastor at Mt. Zion, said having the buyback at the church was “a new sense of service to the community.”
“We’re hoping that things change,” he said, “and what happened six days ago doesn’t happen again.”