CINCINNATI -- Amid the spate of eight shootings since last week, local activists from Project Nehemiah have organized a gun buyback program to try and slow the uptick of violence that's hit the Queen City.
The Gifts for Guns gun buyback will be noon to 3 p.m. Monday at Truth and Destiny Covenant Ministries Fellowship Church in Mount Airy (2645 W. North Bend Road).
“Guns continue to end up in the hands of our youth, often our young black males, who end up taking lives and destroying their own lives. Anything we can do to save even one life or just one of our young black men, we will do,” said Pastor Ennis F. Tait, executive director of Project Nehemiah.
"Our goal is to meet our young men right where they are, mentor and train them, while at the same time getting as many guns as possible out of homes and off the streets that could potentially be used to commit a crime or cause injury to innocent children."
The gun buyback is designed to encourage individuals to bring operable handguns from their homes and neighborhoods in exchange for $100 gift cards as well as $50 gift cards for the exchange of rifles and shotguns. Gift cards are purchased from Wal-Mart and Kroger with donations from concerned individuals, private donors and churches throughout the area.
“We are in need of more donations,” Tait said. “This is a city-wide, cross-county and multi-cultural issue that needs the support (financially and otherwise) of all who make up the Tri-State area.”
Sunday's two shootings in Over-the-Rhine resulted in the death of 26-year-old Trevor Tiemann, a day after dozens called for peace as they marched through the streets of Mount Auburn. It was at least the eighth shooting in the city since late last week, marking an uptick in gun violence over this time last year (57 shootings so far in 2017 compared to 31 for the same time period in 2016).
Though many are discouraged by Sunday’s shootings, Mitchell Morris, of the Cincinnati Works’ Phoenix Program, said he won’t stop rallying to end gun violence.
“Another sad day in our city. It’s another sad day,” Morris said. “So we’re out here trying to encourage people to put the guns down. We just had a peace march yesterday -- it was a beautiful, beautiful day -- a beautiful march. It touched a lot of people, but evidently we have to get back out here and continue to do the same type of thing.”
Morris said people need to encourage peace now more than ever.
“We just have to keep doing what we’re doing ... just because something like that happened
doesn’t mean we have to throw our hands up and quit," Morris said. "We can’t quit. We got mothers losing their kids out here to this nonsense.”