Church sets $5K goal for gun buyback

Published 6:39 pm Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A local church is prepared to spend $5,000 to buy as many guns as possible.

Macedonia Apostolic Church is continuing to raise money for its gun buyback program on April 19, beginning at 10 a.m. So far, the church has raised $3,000 to purchase guns and is aiming to raise $5,000 for the event.

Money raised will be used to pay $50 for handguns and $75 for rifles or any other weapon, with no questions asked.

Bishop Robert Pettus, the pastor at Macedonia, said he hopes the program can have an effect on the crime rate in the city.

“I preach non-violence — that we should be able to get along with our brother and sisters and honor one another,” Pettus said. “It is about stopping the violence and teaching people to live right.”

This year’s event will be the third time Pettus has hosted a gun buyback at the church.

In the first year, the church used its own funds and collected 57 guns. Collections dropped slightly in the second year, to 37 guns collected, because of a shortage of funding, Pettus said.

Guns are melted down and sold after collection. Selma Chief of Police William Riley said the police department netted about $300 from last year’s buyback and donated it directly to this year’s event.

Neither Pettus nor Riley expects all illegal or stolen guns to be sold at the buyback, but Riley said past years produced positive results.

“It’s called a gun buyback, but I look at it as a means of trying to get excess guns off of the streets,” Riley said. “People say criminals are not going to turn in stolen guns, but last year we got several sawed off shotguns. I’m glad to see those off the street because they are very dangerous.”