(Photo: Carol J. Adams)
A Texas church will be holding a gun buyback event later this month, which will involve individuals exchanging their firearms for cash.
It will not be the first community buyback event that First Presbyterian Church of Dallas has overseen, as about six have taken place since 2000 and resulted in 500 weapons being collected and subsequently destroyed.
The Rev. Bruce Buchanan of First Presbyterian Church told The Christian Post that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., prompted the latest event.
"Our original goal was to introduce the program in hopes that other groups would do likewise. That was accomplished in Dallas since 2000. The tragic deaths in Connecticut reminded us that we needed to renew the effort," said Buchanan.
"It is hard to find a family or individual who has not been touched in some way by gun violence. As a minister, I have personally known several families who have had a child who was killed or injured while playing with a weapon."
On Friday, Dec. 14, a shooter opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. A total of 26 individuals were killed at the school, including 20 children. Another adult (the gunman's mother) was killed at her home.
The tragedy sparked an outcry over the issue of gun control, as the shooter had used a bushmaster semiautomatic rifle to perform his murder spree; a ban of which expired years ago.
Regarding the ongoing debate over increased firearms regulation in the wake of the Newtown shooting, Buchanan of Frist Presbyterian told CP that the buyback event was not about the political hot-button issue.
"Supporters and volunteers hold various political opinions and some own firearms. The Gun Buy Back program is not a debate about the 2nd amendment but an attempt to help make homes and families safer," said Buchanan.
"We have been continually amazed how many people fail to safely secure weapons. Few people know about trigger locks or gun safes but chose shoe boxes and closet shelves often storing ammunition alongside the firearm."
First Presbyterian of Dallas is not the only church in the country to engage in a buyback program for firearms. In September 2012, Bloomfield Baptist Church of Memphis, Tenn., held a gun swap event in coordination with police. The four-hour event involved nearly 500 weapons being exchanged for as much as $150 in gas cards and Memphis Grizzlies tickets.