Gun turn-in program begins

July 25, 2008 3:16:54 PM PDT
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley was joined by Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis and dozens of religious leaders Tuesday in an effort to get guns off the streets.This is the fourth year for the gun turn-in event. It's called Don't Kill a Dream Save a Life, and more than two dozen Chicago churches are participating.

"If we can get one gun off the street, if we can get one gun out of the homes and save just one life, that one life does make a difference," said Rev. Roosevelt Watkins, Bethlehem Star Church.

The news conference to announce the fourth annual gun turn-in program was held in one of the South Side neighborhoods experiencing an upsurge in violence this summer. The mayor was joined by the police superintendent, alderman and religious leaders concerned about the increasing number of dead and wounded.

"The wounded you never talk about. Those are the lost souls, those that have head injuries or spinal cord injuries. Those are the forgotten ones," Daley said.

Weis was asked about his meeting Monday with state police and the possibility they could help patrol neoghborhoods.

"The things we talked about was the stuff they discontinued," Weis said. "There was a gun tracking team we worked with in the past. And we would love to have that back. But it was cut out for funding issues."

Last year, the gun turn-in program collected 6,700 weapons and counts more than 11,000 turned in since 2004. At 25 locations, gun donors will be paid $100 for each firearm, no questions asked, and $10 for each BB, pellet or replica gun.

Pamela Bosley, whose 18-year-old son Terrell was murdered two years ago, spoke on behalf of the family members of gun violence victims.

"Not only was his dream taken away, mine was also," she said.

The mayor said the city was rewriting its ordinance banning most firearms in the wake of a recent Supreme Court ruling upholding an individual's right to keep a gun at home. When asked about the effort to fund the turn-in program with corporate donations, the mayor took a shot at companies that own news media outlets.

"Where is the news media? You cover the tragedy? Don't you think you owe a moral responsibility to give money?" Daley said.

For information on where to drop off a gun, call 311. Those turning in weapons do not have to be from the city of Chicago because a person's information will not be required.

The event takes place Saturday, July 26, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.


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