BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Evening the odds. On the chance that fewer guns mean fewer shootings, a Baltimore church is paying people to turn in their guns.

Pat Warren reports this one small effort could be saving lives.

North Gilmor Street is home to Elizabeth Carter. In the 30 years she’s lived here, she’s seen the neighborhood change. In recent years, she’s come to feel her street is much safer, thanks in part to the church next door.

“I think that’s a wonderful thing that Father Damien is doing,” Carter said.

It’s gun turn-in day at St. Gregory the Great Roman Catholic Church. The church offers rewards of up to $100 for weapons, no questions asked.

“That was a call about a gun. She had the gun. She was a little leery about how she should get it here,” said Monsignor Damien Nalepa, St. Gregory the Great.

The payments are made for guns that are in working condition.

“We thought now, appropriately with the violence and the disregard for human life, this would be the appropriate time,” Monsignor Nalepa said.

At her inauguration this week, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake emphasized the need for just this kind of community involvement.

“Everyone has responsibilities in the home, at church, in our neighborhoods,” she said.

North Gilmor and St. Gregory take those responsibilities seriously.

“We have a lot of homeowners that have moved back into the neighborhood, and that’s what helps build up the neighborhood and keep down the crime in the area,” Nalepa said.

St. Gregory the Great has been buying guns for three years.

“We’ve collected over 200 guns in that period of time, and again police have verified these were some very serious weapons that could be used for dangerous crimes,” Nalepa said.

Father Damien says those who missed Saturday’s deadline may still call the church and arrange to bring the guns in.

“We have a lot of guns out on the street in hands they should not be in,” Carter said.

The program is funded by the Catholic Review, the Archdiocese newspaper.

Comments (4)
  1. cHARmcity says:

    How about the mayor stop telling us to help, soon as we help, testify, we are dead because of no protection from the people who get PAID to protect and serve. …. if the church wants to really help, how about standing on those corners all night in shifts, how about neighborhood watch that consists of people that can help and not 60 year old mr johnson and his flashlight… make a bigger difference. who knows where these guns are going after they leave that church, could go in the car of one of Rawlings corrupt cops only to be given right back out again.

    1. cHARMcity says:

      Also if this is annual the crime rate is terrible every year here so obviously this buy back is not working… Im just saying. Just give them all $100 to get high and we can atleast have 1 day of freedom.. And before the racist comments.. I am black.

  2. KottaMan says:

    No cigar on gun buybacks. They obviously do not work here or in any other city. This is wishful thinking in a city that is drowning in death, drugs, and thugs. Until the “community” steps up the plate on crime prevention, nothing will change.

  3. Let's get out there!! says:

    I will agree that we ALL as a community need to get out there and actually make a difference. I wonder how many folks who will make comments on this topic have ever gone out on these corners and tried to make a difference. I know it isn’t easy and sometimes trying to help is a thankless and seemingly fruitless effort. That being said, as a person who grew up in inner city Washington, DC, I can say that there is a tangible benefit for those in the hardest areas who truly want to be helped. Everyone will not receive the help, but some will. Regardless of race, these are our people.

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