It can take time to build trust, members of the non-profit Cincinnati-based organization Street Rescue Inc. said while they waited for drop-offs at the GQ Grooming Lounge barber shop at 545 Central Ave., in Hamilton.
“I’m glad that we’re here, and we will be back,” said former state Rep. Dale Mallory, D-Cincinnati. The next Hamilton event likely will be in March, organizers said.
Unlike some buy-back programs — at which those who turn in guns receive gift certificates as a thank-you — the Street Rescue program asks no questions about where weapons came from or identities of those who bring them in.
“If there’s a murder weapon found, they (police) can have it, but you’re not going to double back, and say, ‘Where’s that guy?’” Mallory said.
The organization also accepts guns people don’t want around the house, perhaps a weapon left by another, its members said.
“We’ve seen people relieved to get rid of them,” Mallory said.
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“We hope to take a lot of guns off the street the next one,” said the Rev. Shaquila Mathews, better known as “Pastor Shaq,” of the Truth & Life Community Church in Hamilton, who worked with the organization.
“This is the first of many, so get used to that banner (outside the building, announcing it was the location of the gun buy-back program). We are serious about gun violence in our community. It’s not acceptable.”
People who know of community guns before the next event can contact Mathews at 513-899-6181, or email@example.com, and she can arrange for two people from Street Rescue to pick them up. Sometimes, people hesitate to participate out of fear it’s some sort of a trap, organizers said.
The program has been operating more than two years and has several such events per year, usually receiving between five and 20 weapons per event, organizers said. Friday’s was the first in Butler County.