Voluntary gun turn-in event underway in Greensboro

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The City of Greensboro is hosting a two-day event allowing people to anonymously dispose of unwanted guns and ammunition.

The idea for the voluntary "Safe Surrender" event was suggested by Councilwoman Dianne Bellamy-Small following the December mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

Bellamy-Small, a former Greensboro police officer, said sensitivity to gun violence is not new in the community.

Safe Surrender is offered year-round through the police department, but the public events are an opportunity to keep the conversation about responsibility ongoing.

"Guns don't kill people.  People kill people with guns," she said Friday morning while visiting Saint Matthew's United Methodist Church -- one of the host locations in her district.

"All weapons can go down the wrong road and become involved with criminal activity," added Greensboro police Lt. J.R. Franks.  "If they are not secured, they are not protected -- criminals can get their hands on them and we wold like any weapon that is not secured that the citizen does not feel safe with, to turn them in."

Area churches volunteered to host the event, where officers are collecting unloaded weapons and ammunition.  Extra security and special officers are staffing the event.

They say anyone who may be uncomfortable having a weapon in their home can turn it in, as well as anyone wanting safely rid of an unwanted gun.  Common scenarios may include someone living in a home where a gun owner passed away.  If the person has no use for or desire to operate the weapon responsibly, they are invited to turn them in.

"The weapon will be checked by serial number to make sure that it was not lost or stolen," Lt. Franks said.  "A ballistic check will be conducted on the weapon to make sure that it was not used in a crime and if all of those come back negative, the weapon will be destroyed."

Franks added this is a not a buy-back program.

The event runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Participating locations are as follows:

  • Saint Matthew's United Methodist Church, located at 600 East Florida St.
  • Bessemer United Methodist Church, located at 3015 East Bessemer Ave.
  • Christ Wesleyan Church, located at 2400 South Holden Road
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