Gun roundup breaks local record

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Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 9:06 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Midlands Gun Buyback program was forced to suspend activity after 128 guns were collected less than one hour after the opening call of the event on Juneteenth (observed).

“We did in one day what I thought it was going to take three days to do,” said Pastor Michael Baker of the Greater St. Luke Baptist Church over phone.

Pastor Baker conceptualized the buyback in April with the intent to save lives and restore families across the Midlands. Two months later, the buyback amassed more guns than any previous program in Richland County.

“I wasn’t looking for press opportunity, I just knew something needed to be done,” continued Pastor Baker.

The program, which was relocated to the Greater St. Luke Baptist Church on opening day, will continue paying $100 per pistol and $250 per rifle until Tuesday, June 21. Payments are in the form of visa gift cards and are distributed on-site.

“We didn’t run out of money, we ran out of visa gift cards,” which resulted in early closure on opening day. Pastor Baker said that over $12,000 worth of gift cards were distributed, made possible by countless endorsement from local to state officials.

The guns collected at this roundup are considered “forfeited” and will be obliterated by Richland County Sheriff’s Department at the next court ordered destruction date.

“When you follow what the Lord tells you to do, and you follow regardless [of] who participates and who doesn’t participate, then you’ve already been successful,” concluded Pastor Baker.

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