Monday, October 8, 2007

Peoria Gun Exchange # 2 Another Great Success

The Peoria Assn. Of Pastors For Community and Spiritual Renewal thanks God for another great gun exchange event. On Saturday Oct. 6th 2007 our assn. exchanged 18 weapons for gift certificates and vouchers including a sawed off shotgun and ammunition that the police was very glad to relieve the community of. ALL weapons were functional and of very high quality.

In all, both gun exchange events have netted over 41 guns and paid almost $4,000 in incentives.

The event was hosted by the St. Paul Baptist Church of Peoria. Their staff did a tremendous job in helping serve the exchange participants.

Some Of The Highlights:

  • A family who has observed a certain group of individuals use a sawed off shotgun at various times for suspected criminal activity, gained the courage to take matters in their own hands, found the hiding place of the weapon, (which had been stored outside) and brought it to the exchange for a $100 Walmart gift card that the family plans to use to assist with food and clothing purchases for their children.
  • Although we generally don’t compensate for long weapons, in a rare instance, the police suggested that we provide an incentive for an individual who brought in 2 shot guns that were in excellent condition. The individual feared that someone would steal and misuse the weapons. The officers processing the weapon stated that he had lifted 2 of the same type of shotguns in a bust just a couple of months ago. (Here In Peoria) From what the officer said, the current trend involves modifying the weapon buy sawing it off, so that it can be better concealed and used in more threatening ways. Once again, the pastors Assn. was glad to be there.

Next Gun Exchange Event Date & Location:

  • Resurrection Power Church Of God In Christ
    2500 N.E. Madison Peoria, IL. 61603
    (309)685-8613 or
    Saturday Oct. 20th 2007
    Time: 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
    Volunteer Orientation: 9:00 AM (10/20/07) at Resurrection Power COGIC

Donations and Contributions:

  • Send TO: New Bethel Ministries
    Payable to:
    New Bethel/Pastor’s Assn.
    P.O. Box 6167
    Peoria, IL. 61601
    Memo: Gun Exchange

Any amount will be greatly appreciated and all gifts receive a charitable receipt for the allowable portion of the gift received.

Special Word On The Incentive Debate:

Some have questioned the motivations of individuals exchanging guns solely because of the $100 incentive. First of all, some individuals have exchanged guns freely and would not accept a gift. Secondly, although we realize that there may be some who abuse the opportunity, we feel that the incentive offered is a positive both for the individual and our community.
For many in our target group of individuals (which have participated in this program) an incentive is necessary for them to act or move in the right direction. Taking control of one’s environment requires courage and we are glad to reward individuals for courage as it pertains to helping to make their environment and our community a better one.

Society Often Rewards Less Courageous Acts:

Here is an example: It is a known fact that in many instances, individuals and businesses measure their charitable contributions based on the amount of tax deductions they nominally receive in exchange for their gifts. In these cases, are tax-deductible gifts or the givers motivations called into question or deemed any less valid because of the incentives afforded through the tax code? Obviously NOT!

Therefore, to criticize gun exchange participants who may not have had the courage or opportunity to show up otherwise is unfair and highly unreasonable at best. The Peoria community could provide no more effective incentive than in finding a way to motivate ordinary people to take control of their environments and help them make their neighborhoods better and more safe.

A Closing Note:

Tuesday evening Oct. 9th, the Peoria City Council will decide if this effort is worth the City’s financial participation. Although the City Police Dept. has gone above and beyond the call of duty for and with us, the City Govt. somehow stalled our original request since Aug. 13th 2007.

It is promising that we have not received ANY negative feedback from any council members regarding this event and further there are council persons that have said that they want the City to be involved, however it will be well worth noting how they position themselves on this issue both individually and as a body.

Let’s watch how this one plays out.

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