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Clergy, police working together to get guns off Fayetteville streets

Posted November 14, 2014

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— For the pastor of Second Baptist Church, a police-sponsored gun purchase event is personal.

Pastor Mark Rowden says the death of two members of his congregation in a home invasion motivated him to organize the Nov. 22 gun buyback program, Fayetteville's first. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. next Saturday, people may exchange their firearms for Visa gift cards, no questions asked. Assault rifles and handguns will garner $200; rifles and shotguns $150.

Fayetteville Chief of Police Harold Medlock is funding the purchases with $25,000 forfeited in drug busts. The church has kicked in another $5,000.

The programs are popular nationwide, but there are questions about whether they truly reduce gun crime. In two months after the first gun buyback, in Baltimore in 1974, crime actually rose.

Rowden sees it as a means to empower a community reeling from violence.

After the home invasion, he and others formed Clergy to Stop Violence. High Point Community Against Violence Seeking Safety: High Point an example of community, police partnership

"We had our first rally at the Martin Luther King Park in November of last year," he said. So, it's been about a year now."

In recent months, Faytteville has seen a string of teens shot outside of house parties. 16-year-old Joseph Braxton was murdered in September, and just last week 17-year-old Anthony Thomas-McSwain was charged with shooting another teenager outside a party over drugs and money.

Rowden hopes his buyback program has similar results to events in Winston-Salem and Greensboro, where hundreds of weapons were turned in.

"If we can get just one gun off the street, that could possibly save a life," Rowden said.

Medlock pointed out that even non-gun owners can help. 

"What we're hoping is that families of children or young people or criminals that know where those illegal guns are will pick them up, bring them in, turn them in for cash," he said.


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  • 678devilish Nov 17, 2014

    Good luck with that.

  • busyb97 Nov 17, 2014

    Since the two people died in a home invasion, instead of encouraging people to get rid of their main source of protection in that case, they should be educating folks on how to legally obtain them, how to use them, etc. When homeowners are armed and know how to use them, the bad guys think twice about busting in.

    Besides, most of those guns in that picture look like antiques...probably don't even work! You honestly think the criminals are turning in their guns?? Get real. Nice thought- just a bit backwards.

  • Christopher Byrne Nov 14, 2014
    user avatar

    This just doesn't make sense. Last post before 8pm. I agree with the 1st 4 comments.

  • Bill of Rights Nov 14, 2014

    I cringe at the thought of historic firearms being turned in for a pittance of what they're probably worth. Or, worse yet, people being deprived of a tool that could save their life.

    Maybe some enterprising gun dealers should setup tables in the vicinity of this and offer to purchase weapons at much closer to their market value.

  • Sean Dowe Nov 14, 2014
    user avatar

    Let me get this straight. Two people were killed by bad guys wielding guns. The solution to this, is for GOOD guys to turn in guns?


  • unblankenbelievable Nov 14, 2014

    With all the crime going on you would be a fool to get rid of your firearm and 200 for a pistol is way under what most of them cost. 150 for a shotgun, maybe.