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Baltimore residents hopeful; some skeptical on gun buyback program

Posted at 5:27 PM, Dec 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-21 11:41:44-05

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — Throughout the afternoon on the corner of McElderry Street and N. Montford Avenue, the sidewalks on the east Baltimore block looked more like an arms show.

People filling the streets with guns, both small and sophisticated, filing into the community center.

"I've been waiting for a buyback for about a year. As soon as there was a buyback, I was like you're gone," V. Lee Brady said, referring to an old revolver he had laying around.

It was a weapon he'd been thinking about tossing for years.

"Had an old revolver that was left in the house. So it didn't work out but so well, but it was good to get it out of the house. It wasn't really going to provide that much protection," Brady said.

But for the police department, having that revolver and the hundreds of other guns in their possession is protecting more people in the city.

"Some of them are handguns, some of them rifles, and they're turning those weapons, those items into police," Det. Jeremy Silbert, a spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department, said.

As of Friday, Interim Commissioner Gary Tuggle said 1,089 guns had been collected, costing the city about $163,000 in payments for those weapons.

"I was like if they're going to pay me for my old junk, I'll take it," Schmuel Frankel said. He'd just turned in two long guns.

580 guns that could've fallen into the wrong hands, police say, contributing to violence in the city as Baltimore nears 300 homicides for the fourth consecutive year.

"We often hear stories from individuals who may have had their house broken into, maybe they had one, two, or even three guns that were inside of the house and if those guns are taken in a burglary, they end up on the street," Silbert said.

An outcome BPD wants to prevent, pulling the trigger on what's now an epidemic in the city.

"At the end of the day, if somebody brings a gun to a buy back, we're not goign to turn them away," Tuggle said. "We're certainly not going to let them leave with it."