Thousands of guns turned in
April 29, 2006 (WLS) -- Police say more than 3-thousand guns were turned in at Chicago churches Saturday in a buy back program, far more weapons than expected. The good news is that's more than 3-thousand weapons children won't be able to find and fire. That's 3-thousand guns that can't be used to commit crimes.
But on the very day all of these weapons were being collected an Englewood family rushed to the bedside of an 18-year-old gunshot victim. His name is Rodney Baskin. Tonight he is dead. His family is saying its final goodbyes and wondering if the violence will ever end.
"I've been to many funerals and it looks like I'm about to go to another one," said community activist Hal Baskin.
Violence hits close to home for longtime Englewood community activist Hal Baskin. His 18-year-old nephew Rodney was gunned down at 68th and Morgan overnight as he and friends stood on a street corner near a party.
"There was a party around the corner from where they were standing and I heard there was shooting in that area," Hal Baskin said.
Even as police herald a huge increase in people participating in a gun buy-back program on the south side there are questions about the program's effectiveness.
Pastor Larry Roberts says he is stunned and happy people turned-in more than 300 weapons at his church Saturday. There are all kinds and calibers. Rifles. Antique pistols. And six-shooters. People seemed happy to hand 'em over in exchange for a $100-dollar gift card. But the weapons-of-choice of most gang-bangers appear to be largely absent from the turn-in tables.
"We didn't see a lot of semi-automatic guns, there was a few that came in, but these are the weapons that we really need to get off the street. To many innocent people are getting mowed down and shot down," said Pastor Larry Roberts, Sr. of Trinity All Nations Church.
"If that 100 dollars gets that gun off the streets then it's worth it," said Chicago Police Supt. Phil Cline.
Hal Baskin fears some may be using the city's buy-back programs as an easy means to help increase their firepower. "If I got one that shoots six times, why not get one that shoot 19? Why not take that 100-dollars add some money to it and get an upgrade," Hal Baskin said.
The $100-dollars per gun is issued "not" in the form of cash -- it's a gift card, courtesy of some generous businesses.
All the weapons collected Saturday will be melted down.
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