By: Raina J. Johnson
Special to The Milwaukee Times
A local coffee shop was the setting in which a group of about 15 Milwaukee pastors called for city officials to sponsor a $50,000 gun buyback program in the 2014 city budget.
The pastors are advocating this method in an effort to curb the city’s number of senseless killings. “Whether hearing it on the news, which affects all of our sense of security and the way we move through our communities, or in other instances knowing a victim or perpetrator, we are all impacted by gun violence,” said Rev. Mose Fuller, pastor of St. Timothy Community Baptist Church.
The proposal states, “The citywide gun buyback initiative will provide a monetary incentive – $100 cash gift card for a handgun, shotgun or rifle and up to a $200 cash gift card for an assault weapon to individuals who turn in firearms, while engaging our communities toward a common goal of reducing gun violence. This would be a one-time proposition and individuals would be able to participate anonymously and without the threat of retaliation or action by law enforcement.”
Pastors are reaching out to communities both faith-based and secular to help stop the violence. Pastor Fred Crouther, New Covenant Baptist Church, concluded, “The pastors of the various churches, and the Milwaukee Police Department, remain committed to providing a safe place for citizens to turn in guns they no longer want. It is a much better choice to remove an unwanted gun from your home than to leave it where it can be stolen and used in a crime.”
The group hopes to have the gun buyback program by the end of the year, but they all agree that if the city doesn’t accept their proposal, they will look to other funding sources.
Pastor participating in the gun buyback press conference held on Monday, October 14, 2013 were: Rev.
Fred Jones, Pastor Ellis Wilkins, Pastor Mose Fuller, Pastor John McVicker, Pastor Fred Crouther, Pastor
Louis Sibley III, and Pastor Robert T. Wilson.