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Local churches partner with state government in Midland Gun Buyback Program

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Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 8:20 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Pastor Michael Henry Baker of the Greater St. Luke Baptist Church is spearheading and hosting the Midland Gun Buy Back Program.

Pastor Baker’s Greater Farrow Road Foundation has partnered with churches and businesses across the Midlands in an effort to reduce gun violence.

“We’ve hosted three to four [buy backs] … but there has never been one of this magnitude,” said Pastor Baker over phone call.

Nearly six months of his planning will go into effect between June 20-21, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the M.L. Smith Community Development Center, directly across the street from his church.

Individuals surrendering weapons will be given $100 per handgun and $250 per assault rifle with a limit of three weapons per category. Participants will be paid at the event and are being promised total anonymity.

Columbia Police Officers and Richland County Deputies will handle incoming firearms, but there will be no license plate or background checks. The forfeited weapons will be destroyed at the discretion of both departments.

The Midland Gun Buyback Program is endorsed by Representative Ivory Thigpen of District 79 and Representative Leon Howard of District 76.

“I have not seen the level of gun shots and gun violence in this community in my entire life… hopefully after this event, some young person who’s living now will still be living as a result of this gun buyback,” said Rep. Howard in his South Carolina State House Office.

He hopes that Pastor Baker’s buyback program will inspire other community leaders across South Carolina and the nation to follow suit.

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