Randy McIlwain, NBC 5 News
The First Presbyterian Church of Dallas says it hopes to get a few guns off the streets by hosting a gun buyback program Jan. 19.
The First Presbyterian Church of Dallas will host a gun buyback program later this month in hopes of taking a few weapons off the streets and lending its voice to the national debate about gun control.
"I think today there is rarely a family or individual who has not been touched by some incident of a violent gun accident or death," said Reverend Bruce Buchanan who will run the program.
The gun buyback is actually a return to the church's roots. In 2000, First Presbyterian Church of Dallas held the first of six annual gun buybacks, collecting more than 500 guns.
Buchanan says as the nation debates gun control in the wake of the Newtown shootings, someone should speak for the victims of gun violence.
"We have equipped ourselves to be the weapons of our own self-destruction and it doesn't do us justice," said Buchanan.
Critics of gun buyback programs say many of the guns turned in are junk that wouldn't fire anyway, they also tout the 2nd Amendment when gun control measures are suggested as ways of preventing semi-automatic weapons from falling into the wrong hands.
Buchanan says his experience is that more guns have only equaled more gun violence in America and as a nation we're less safe because of it. "The weapons that are marketed are killing machines, they're not used for hunting, they're not used for protection, they're designed for mass killing," said Buchanan.
Buchanan says if the program takes a few operable guns off the streets from household that no longer want them, then that prevents them from falling into the wrong hands and thus the community is safer.
The First Presbyterian Church of Dallas' gun buyback will take place at The Stewpot Garage on Young Street in Dallas on Jan. 19. Doors open at 10 a.m., with the church offering $50 for handguns and rifles, and up to $200 for semi-automatic weapons.