Divine Help Key to Gun Buyback Success? Maybe
The state-run Gun Buyback Program maybe getting a little divine help. Two Monmouth County churches are the unsung heroes in the successful gun amnesty program that yielded nearly 16-hundred guns over the weekend.
Pastor Mark White of Shiloh Community Fellowship of Asbury Park explains why they opened their doors. “In our area alone there’s been quite a few murders, quite a few shootings and we wanted to open our doors and let the people know there was a safe haven place for them to come and allow them to bring those guns off the street”
Father Daniel Cahill of Saint Ann Catholic Church of Keansburg says that houses of worship have been key to the program’s success. “Since the state has been collecting these through churches they’ve had a much, much greater response. So obviously people feel a certain affinity with a church.”
Father Cahill says like the State Attorney General, he doesn’t see the Gun Buyback as the only answer to the problem of gun violence but a part of it. He says another part can be addressed in the home. “I appeal to the parents to take better care of their children, watch out where they’re going, who their friends are. It’s so important that your children have the right kind of friends and not be drawn into this world of violence.”
Pastor White believes the community of Faith can also do their part by providing places for children to go after school. “Open up our doors of the church, open up recreation times for them because really a lot of times we find out they’re in trouble … they have no where to go.”
In total, 1,581 guns collected in the fourth state-sponsored Gun Buy Back Program in Monmouth County. Another gun buyback program in Atlantic County next weekend will also be held at two churches in Atlantic City and Pleasantville on March 22 and 23. For more information, visit go to the web site at www.nj.gov/guns or call 609-984-5828