The Chicago Police Department will be accepting guns at 23 churches across the city Saturday, no questions asked, in an effort to reduce the number of weapons in circulation across Chicago.
Organized by the city, the CPD's Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy and several faith- and community-based non-violence groups, the Gun Turn-In event will be held simultaneously at 23 churches between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., according to the city. Firearms can be turned in for a $100 MasterCard gift card, and replica and BB-guns will be accepted in exchange for a $10 gift card.
During a similar effort in 2007, more than 6,700 guns were turned in, setting a national record. In the last six years, gun turn-in events across the city have recovered over 23,000 guns, according to the city.
But Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune slammed the practice in a June 17 op-ed, citing evidence a 2004 National Academy of Sciences study that found "the theory underlying gun buybacks is badly flawed and the empirical evidence demonstrates the ineffectiveness of these programs."
In an interview with CBS Chicago, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told the station it doesn't matter where the guns come from: he says any reduction in the number of weapons on Chicago's streets would be an improvement.
“We don’t know which gun we get off the street, or out of somebody’s closet, or out from underneath somebody’s bed, that’s going to prevent somebody from getting murdered,” McCarthy said (see video above).
“There’s just way too many guns in this city. There’s way too many guns in the state of Illinois. And it’s one of those situations that if we don’t do something about it – and everything we do matters--if we don’t do something about it, it’s just going to continue at the rate that it is.”
The turn-in takes place on the heels of a federal judge ruling Tuesday that a key section of the city's gun ordinance -- one that bans residents convicted of using a firearm illegally from obtaining a permit -- is unconstitutional.
Visit the city's website to see the 23 locations accepting weapons Saturday.