Warren official plans gun buy-back program

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In the wake of a shooting in Warren on Friday that left an 18-year old girl dead, a Warren councilman is taking action to help stop these type of senseless shootings by getting as many guns off the street as possible.

Warren Council President Bob Dean tried to start a gun buy-back program about a year ago.  But it didn’t get far because there was little response from local clergy and no response from area lawmakers.

But this time, he’s not giving up. And the shooting death of McKayla Hopkins, 18, at a birthday at Perkins Park on Friday is part of his motivation.

“I didn’t like hearing people say they didn’t feel safe at Perkins Park.  When we were kids, that’s where we went, and our parents didn’t worry about us,” Dean said.

No one has been arrested in Hopkins’ death.  Investigators are still talking to people who were at the party trying to piece it all together.

“That’s what we’re still trying to determine. If she was playing with the gun, if  someone else was playing with the gun. If this was intentional, unintentional. Accidents happen, but we just need to talk to everybody so we can get to the bottom of that,” said Warren Police Lt. Jeff Cole.

Dean, with the help of some concerned Warren residents, have started a committee to start a gun buy-back program. He would like to do exactly what the city of Cleveland is doing with its program.

“They gave out gift certificates for people who turned in guns. Secondly,they had an ammunition program as well,” Dean said.

The committee already  has started reaching out to local businesses to help raise the funds for the gun buy-back program. Dean estimates the program’s cost at between $8,000 and $10,00o.

Smaller guns would be $100 and larger ones would be $200. Warren Police believe the program will make a difference.

“One illegal gun off the streets is a life saved and we’ll take it,” Cole said.

Dean is hoping to start the program at the end of September.

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