Among several measures taken in response to the shooting death of 14-year-old Dajae Coleman, the city of Evanston will hold a gun buyback program next month.
Scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 15, the buyback is “amnesty-based,” officials say, meaning no police enforcement actions will be taken when someone turns in a firearm, regardless of whether it is a legal weapon.
“We encourage anybody that has a firearm and wants to turn it in to do it, whether they have an FOID or not,” explained Evanston Police Cmdr. Jason Parrott. “We’re trying to get firearms off the street that are in workable condition and can harm the public.”
Officials will accept unloaded guns only from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Christ Temple Missionary Baptist Church, 1711 Simpson St. Participants must have proof of Evanston residency, which could include a piece of mail, an Evanston Public Library card, student ID or government-issued ID. Weapons should be transported in the trunk of a vehicle or in an inaccessible area of a van or pickup truck, according to the release. Residents are also encouraged to bring ammunition, ammunition clips and magazines.
Participants may turn in two guns at most to receive cash, but officials are still determining how much people will receive, according to Eric Palmer, a spokesperson for the city of Evanston. Northwestern University has donated $10,000 to support the program, while NorthShore University HealthSystem donated $1,000 and the Cherry Family Foundation donated $5,000.
The Evanston Community Foundation has contributed $1,000 to the program and established a fund to accept residents’ contributions. Donations can be made on the Evanston Community Foundation website or by mail to Evanston Community Foundation, 1007 Church St., Ste. 108, Evanston, IL 60201.
“There is no instant or single solution to the problem of gun violence, nor any way to undo the losses we have already suffered,” Evanston Community Foundation President Sara Schastok said in the release. “The foundation has responded to the mayor’s request for assistance in the hope that our community can decrease residents’ access to guns in moments of anger or fear and that we can demonstrate our shared resolve to prevent violence.”
In the release, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl thanked the local organizations that had supported the program, as well as Carolyn Murray, co-chair of the Fifth Ward’s West Evanston Strategic Team (WEST). Murray told Patch earlier this year that her group has been trying to implement a gun buyback program for several months, in order to take guns off the street from accidental shootings or suicides.
The firearms that are collected on Dec. 15 will be inventoried by the police department and ultimately destroyed, according to Parrott.