SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – We’ve reported to you countless times when a shooting resulted in the injury or death of a teenager. Now police and city leaders are shedding light on a new program to buy back guns and they need your help.
“We do not want illegal guns or legal guns in the hands in the hands of people who are not supposed to have them,” says Savannah 1st district alderman Van Johnson.
If you want to change the rate of gun violence involving Savannah’s younger generation, the city and police are saying put your money where your mouth is.
“Get the gun, call us we’ll come and get it,” adds Johnson.
There is a new gun buy back initiative in Savannah headed by Savannah Youth City, it’s a community effort to buy illegal guns; those that may be legally registered but stolen and in illegal hands, or ones not registered and used illegally.
“We say we want you to live, we want you to have opportunities that you deserve, that are yours and it’s just as simple as that,” says Savannah Youth City Inc. director Beverlee Trotter.
Already the program has bought back five guns totaling more than $700 provided by groups like funeral homes and Alderman Van Johnson himself.
“You know what your young people are doing, you know what type of activities they are involved in, you know the result, the unfortunate result of some of those activities,” says the alderman.
Homicides in Savannah are up from this time last year, which was the deadliest year in Savannah in two decades. In the last month, several teens were injured by gunfire including one in the parking lot at Savannah High School.
“We know that in this community we’ve had children shot by other children with firearms,” says Metro Chief Jack Lumpkin.
These guns will go to law enforcement, but they cannot destroy them according to state law.
But eventually, the program could lead to weapons being destroyed if that was handled by a private organization.
For now, Johnson asks the community to step up, provide funds and spaces to receive these weapons from those they may harm.
“We are also asking that all houses of worship in our community offer to serves as safe places refuge for anyone wishing to turn in a gun,” says Johnson.
Because this is all private based, the alderman and Savannah Youth City have launched a GofundMe account that will be used to buy the guns. We have links to it on our Facebook page.