Second week of city's weapons buyback yields 445 guns, including a $2,000 Uzi Program receives $70,000 from two contributors

February 09, 1997|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,SUN STAFF

A brisk wind and steady, wet snow hardly seemed to dampen business yesterday in the second week of Baltimore's gun buyback program.

The two buyback locations -- one on the west side in the 1900 block of Pennsylvania Ave., the other in the 600 block of N. Caroline St. on the east side -- had a steady stream of customers until their 4 p.m. closing. Police officers doled out $50 for each handgun, no questions asked.

They collected 445 guns yesterday, including $2,000 Uzi.

Among the sellers was Coppin State College student James Taylor, who shared this story:

"I took this gun from my little 9-year-old cousin," said Taylor, 22, as he stood in line at the Pennsylvania Avenue site. "He said he bought it on the streets and needed it for protection. But he doesn't, and I took it from him. He was upset, but what I say goes."

"Everyone is braving the elements to come out here," said police Lt. Robert Floyd. "We have slightly less people than what we had last week, but it has still been busy."

The goal yesterday, said program coordinator Barbara Bostick Hunt, was to get 1,000 guns off the street -- the same number garnered last week.

The most dangerous gun turned in, Floyd said, was an automatic shotgun called a "street sweeper" that fires 25 rounds before having to be reloaded.

Yesterday, city officials received an anonymous $50,000 contribution to the project, plus $20,000 from Bolton Hill resident David Calhoun, 36, whose wife was robbed at gunpoint a few steps from their front door on Jan. 22. Car troubles kept Calhoun from bringing the money to the Pennsylvania Avenue location himself, so city officials picked up a check from his house.

Calhoun visited the buyback location later in the morning. Donating the money and talking with the people who were waiting to turn in their guns was a good experience, he said.

"I was really impressed with all the people and the concern they had for their neighborhood," he said.

Calhoun said that while he is sorry he won't be taking an exotic vacation with the money, it was worth the sacrifice. "Actually seeing all of those guns side by side with my own eyes made me really realize that," he said.

The city's buyback program will continue Saturdays through February.

Pub Date: 2/09/97

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