'Peace Lilies for Guns' gets unwanted guns off the streets

Published: Apr. 19, 2014 at 10:16 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 29, 2014 at 3:27 PM EDT
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(Source: RCSD)
(Source: RCSD)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A couple dozen guns are off the streets and out of the reach of children and the Richland County Sheriff's Department and a non-profit made it happen.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said if taking just one gun off the streets saves a life, then that's a success.

On Saturday, the sheriff's department did better than just one, they collected 29 pistols, rifles and shotguns.

Two revolvers have been in Bob Hill's family for a long time but he decided to give them up.

"They're probably 65 or 70 years old," Hill said. "They're 25 caliber. "I needed to get them out of my home. I needed a safe place to dispose of them. They belonged to my father-in-law."

Hill has grandchildren who visit and even though the old guns probably don't fire anymore, he wasn't going to chance it.

Sgt. Curtis Wilson and the Richland County Sheriff's Department partnered with the Faith Coalition on gun violence to take unwanted, unsafe, unused or improperly stored guns off the streets.

"Well, a lot of things can happen, actually, you can have accidental shootings take place," Wilson said. "Kids can get involved and find a weapon and think it's a toy."

And deputies in neighboring Lexington County say that's what happened just days ago in Gaston when 7-year-old Juliet Lynch was shot and killed by another child.

Just in the past month, there have been three other reported accidental shooting by Children, in Pickens County, in Charlotte and in Richland County.

"When Sandy Hook happened, and the 20 children and 6 adults were killed, that touched something really deeply in me," said John Evans who dropped off his gun.

At Saturday's event, there are no questions asked and even immunity for people with stolen guns.

But Wilson said getting weapons off the streets is not the only goal.

"It's to bring awareness to gun safety," Wilson said. "We have gun locks. We also have safety information for weapons as well."

Each person who dropped off a gun got a peace lily in return as a token of thanks.

The sheriff's department will melt down and grind up the guns.

The coalition plans to use the pieces to make a sculpture to remember the victims of gun violence.

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