ST. LOUIS - After the City of St. Louis recorded its most homicides since 1995, Mayor Krewson along with other city leaders announced a gun buyback program.
As of Dec. 20, 199 people have lost their lives to gun violence in the City of St. Louis.
The program will take place on Dec. 23 at the Omega Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Anyone who turns in a gun will receive $100 for a handgun, $150 for a shotgun or rifle, $200 for an assault rifle.
The Omega Center is located at 3900 Goodfellow Boulevard.
All guns must be brought to the Omega Center in a bag, box, or other carrying case and must be unloaded before they will be accepted. Guns must not come from a pawn shop. Citizens can also call 314-327-6530 the day of the event and an officer will come pick up
Anyone with information about a crime should call 314-231-1213.
It's the first time the City has offered a gun buyback program in almost 10 years. In a news conference earlier this month, Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards said no city money will be spent on the buyback program, and the Police Foundation and Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis would be covering the costs. In addition to those two groups, Ameren is listed on the flyer.
Lise Bernstein runs Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice. She supports the buyback program.
"Every gun that is taken off the streets, and disposed of, is one gun less that can do harm to somebody," Bernstein said.
Meanwhile, State Rep. Bruce Franks Jr. opposes the program.
"We had a gun buyback when my brother was killed in 1991," he said. "Removed, what, 7,000 guns off the streets."
He says the murder rate decreased by around 15 but went back up the following year.
"It's too much attention put toward something that we know for a fact isn't effective," he said.
He also doubts criminals or their family members will turn in their guns. Bernstein is optimistic.
"I hope that the scope of this being so public and so available will really motivate people," she said.
However, they both agree more needs to be done to reduce violent crime. Bernstein says her organization has given out more than 3,000 gun locks.
"We do need stricter gun laws but at the end of the day, that's not what would have saved my brother," Franks Jr. said. "What would have saved my brother is, those two men, who were living the life of crime, if they had some type of opportunity."
The bottom of the gun buyback flyer says, "Need a job? Call Slate." The phone number listed is 314-589-8000.