by: Wendy Corona Updated:
ATLANTA - A gun buyback program in southwest Atlanta had people turning in their guns for more than the cash.
Every person's reason for dropping off a gun was different. Harold Thomas was being proactive.
"My son had it. I wanted to make sure he didn't use it," Thomas said.
Vouchers up to $100 were handed out and turned in for cash. Each person shared the common goal of wanting to take an opportunity for gun violence away.
Fueled with a passion for peace, Pastor Edward Crockett turned in a number of rifles and shotguns.
"I collected some from some kids. They were scared to bring them in, so I did it," said Crockett. "It's time for us to buckle down and stop all this killing here in Atlanta."
Crockett collected $400 for what he turned in.
This was a year-and-half long effort by the NAACP, black churches and the City of Atlanta and Fulton County made this possible. About $30,000 was handed out in less than two hours and $14,000 more got the group to early afternoon before having to shut down with no more money.
"I never thought I'd be glad to just hand out money like this, but if it saves lives, we cannot put a cost on life," said Rev. Dr. R.L. White, the lead organizer with Atlanta's NAACP.
All those guns will then be processed by authorities. It turns out the group could have been out of business sooner, had they not had competition a block away.
Gun collectors and enthusiasts, like David Daum, caught the attention of some people before reaching the Turner Field parking lot where the buyback was taking place.
"I personally just collect, restore. My personal preference is antique firearms," explained Daum. He said his reason for being out there based on preservation. "Being a collector, especially trying to keep some of the historical firearms from being melted down and destroyed."
The buyback program paid from $10 to $100 for rifles, shotguns and ammunition. The goal was to clear the streets of guns before the upcoming Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.