AURORA, Colorado (CBS4) – Leaders in Aurora and Denver say now is the time to bring about change after recent youth violence in their communities.
âOur hearts are breaking at the violence we have seen in our communities, especially since the start of the pandemic. Our residents should never be afraid to spend an afternoon in a community park or to go to a local school, âread a press release issued by the cities on Monday.
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Starting in March 2022, a new gun buyback program will be put in place in the hope of remedying the problem.
âOur goal is to get guns off the streets. What we are seeing is an extraordinary increase in crime in Denver and Aurora, âDenver District 5 City Councilor Amanda Sawyer told CBS4’s Mekialaya White via Zoom.
Sawyer says now is the time to act, after a massive increase in violent and property crime in recent weeks. This includes two shootings in Aurora, injuring several teenagers last week.
âI think the government has been reluctant to get involved in a program like this for a long time, especially in the metropolitan area. There is a crisis in our communities, especially among the youth, âechoed Aurora City Councilor Curtis Gardner. âSo we’re partnering up with RawTools, a Colorado Springs-based nonprofit, which will take guns donated upon our buyout, turning them into garden tools and jewelry. It creates a really interesting synergy for the community.
âWe think this will be a really valuable partnership between the two cities,â added Sawyer.
With each redemption, residents can return their firearms anonymously.
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âThis is what our community is asking for. We’ve heard from young people who think they need to own a gun to defend themselves and want to surrender their guns because they don’t want to turn to guns, âGardner said.
The events will be hosted by volunteers and hosted by community partners who share their goals: to help people get rid of guns safely.
“A lot of the guns that are used in crime are actually stolen from owners who don’t have the option of storing them in their homes or cars and what happens is that these guns go away. fire are stolen and used in a later crime, âGardner said.
He adds that this is a first tangible step within the framework of a global strategy.
âIt includes funding for mental health, increasing programs for youth. We have a variety of tools. There are a number of tools that we have in our toolbelt to tackle this problem.
Sawyer is also looking to give hope to the community at this time.
âOur community needs to come together and move forward. Each of these weapons is an opportunity to save someone’s life.
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Official dates and times for arms buybacks will be announced in January. So far, four events are planned in Aurora and four in Denver.