Baltimore Neighborhood Holds Gun Buyback

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The trade of guns for computers has a two-fold purpose on one East Baltimore neighborhood. This weekend’s gun buyback gets weapons off the streets and trains neighbors for new careers.

Gigi Barnett explains how it works.

“When he passed, I just took it home and it’s been sitting there,” said Jefferson Livingston.

For a while now, Livingston wondered what to do about his late father’s .38 revolver–until this weekend–when he heard about a gun buyback in East Baltimore that swaps firearms for computers. The sentimental value is lost.

“Anybody can steal your stuff, shoot somebody with it and trace it back to you. I said it’s not really worth it,” Livingston said.

That’s part of the reason why the McElderry Park Community Association hosted this weekend’s buyback. The other reason: a computer can open the door for more education and less violence.

“If you give the people the resources and tools–I don’t care how poor they are–if you give them the tools they need, they will work to help improve the living environment in the neighborhoods,” said McElderry Park Community Association President Glenn Ross.

So how did the community group get all of these computers to give away for guns? Through a three-year, $1 million grant.

“The real thing is education over violence,” said Lance Lucas.

Lucas’ non-profit group, Digit All Systems, refurbished the used computers. He says there’s a second part of the gun buyback deal: free job training comes with every computer.

“There are 18,000 job positions opened in Baltimore for IT right now. It is a very lucrative job market. So you want to help develop people in the area to fill these jobs,” Lucas said.

This is the second year the city has hosted a computer for guns buyback. Last year, they collected 57 guns. This year, they’re hoping to beat that number.

Police have a no-questions-asked policy at the gun buybacks, but they check the weapons to make sure they are not linked to crimes.

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