Community groups stage buyback event to get illegal guns off the streets

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Over a dozen community partners are teaming up in Minneapolis to hold a gun buyback event this weekend in an effort to make the city safer.

The two-day event kicked off Friday and will continue Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Colin Powell Center, 2924 Fourth Ave. S.

On the second day, people are encouraged to bring in their guns in an effort to get illegal guns off the streets.

Organizers explained guns must be unloaded and transported in clear freezer bags or clear garbage bags. A $150 gift card will be offered for handguns, and a $250 gift card will be offered for automatic and semi-automatic weapons and rifles.

“Gun violence is tearing our nation apart, and Minnesota is no different,” said Deseria Galloway, an organizer for the gun buyback event.

The effects of gun violence have crept into Galloway’s life more times than she can count.

“Starting with my son who’s now 31, he was 15 when he was shot,” she said. “I have an office in north Minneapolis. I’ve already had bullets come through my window.”

Galloway turned her pain into purpose and teamed up with Priscilla Brown, Urban Ventures-Pathways to New Beginnings program manager, to organize a gun buyback event in Minneapolis.

At the two-day event, the community has access to free gun locks. They can also swap their illegal gun for a gift card with no questions asked.

“We want it to be brought in because that’s another gun that will not kill another child or another young person,” Brown said.

Brown said getting guns off the street is just one piece of the puzzle.

Over a dozen community partners ranging from health care systems to nonprofits were also on site to offer resources to people who may need them.

“So things like food resources, housing, resources, financial support all really tie into someone’s ability to cope and to cope with whatever stressors the outside world is putting on them,” Kysa McSky, Hennepin Healthcare resident, said.

McSky said because she works in the emergency room, she takes care of gunshot victims daily.

“Taking care of kids that have been shot for the first time is just horrible,” she said. “It happens at a really young age and it hurts everyone around them.”

She said changing the narrative starts with events and partnerships like these.

“When you break it down, we’re talking about building healthy families again so that we can have a healthy community and a safe community,” Brown said.