PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A church in Homewood is taking a stand against gun violence on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The Holy Cross Episcopal Church, located on Kelly Street, is working with other groups and city officials to hold a gun buyback program on Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. They are the first church in Pittsburgh to ever hold a program like this.
Church officials held a news conference Friday morning to announce the details.
WATCH: Gun Buyback News Conference —
The church will pay up to $100 per firearm, thanks to funding from various local organizations like the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.
“If you’re worried about your child having a gun, and you don’t want them to have it, or there’s a gun in the house you don’t want, this is a great opportunity through faith to give back, and then talk to your children about life,” said State Rep. Ed Gainey.
Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert is standing behind next week’s gun buyback at the Church of the Holy Cross in Homewood.
“At the end of the day, one homicide, one person getting shot is too many,” said Chief Schubert.
Church officials say they hope to raise awareness about gun violence with the program. It was envisioned after a double fatal shooting near the church in November.
A man and woman were shot and killed on Kelly Street near Collier Street just outside the church on the night of Nov. 13. The man was found in a vehicle, and the woman was found in the street. Both died.
“Simply because it was so close. It was right on the corner there and at 7 o’clock in the morning, bodies were lying on the street,” said Dr. Leon Haley with the Church of the Holy Cross.
Church officials say they hope to honor the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of non-violence with the program.
“We actually have children who didn’t want to go to school because they were afraid to walk in their own community,” said Sylvia Wilson with the Pittsburgh Board of Education.
“Maybe that gun might be used in a shooting and if we can take it off street and save a life, that life is worth $100 and more,” said Dr. Haley.
For more information about the gun buyback, visit this link.