Turn in the Guns

January 14, 1993

After last year's record number of homicides in Baltimore City, church and civic groups have banded together in an effort to stop the killing. Their solution: Set up a place where people can get rid of guns with "no questions asked."

Turn In The Guns, an ad hoc committee of religious and civic organizations, will sponsor the gun retrieval for two days at the McKim Recreation Center at 1120 E. Baltimore St., a few blocks east of the Shot Tower. The center, staffed by members of a private security service, will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. next Sunday and Monday.

The event's sponsors ask that all guns be placed in a plastic bag and securely sealed with tape or string. The guns will be given to the Baltimore Police Department for disposal.

Getting guns off the street is the first step toward reducing Baltimore's appalling homicide epidemic. Studies have shown that a gun purchased for personal protection is far more likely to be used in a suicide, domestic dispute or accidental shooting than for protection or to repel an intruder.

The Turn In The Guns effort began as a collaborative project between the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial United Methodist Church in Forest Park and Stony Run Friends Meeting in North Baltimore.

It was quickly embraced by other religious congregations and community organizations concerned about the escalating level of gun-related violence in Baltimore.

The group chose this weekend to launch the initiative because it marks the birthday of Dr. King, a man who stood for change through non-violent means. We can think of no more fitting way for Baltimoreans to honor the memory of Martin Luther King than to support efforts like this aimed at getting the guns off our city's streets.

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