The Catholic Review, along with two Baltimore City parishes, will sponsor another Gun Turn-in day May 1, in an effort to stem gun violence in the city.
This will be the ninth opportunity for citizens to turn in weapons at St. Gregory the Great Parish, 1542 N. Gilmor St., and the second at St. Wenceslaus Church, 2111 Ashland Ave. Both events will take place Saturday, May 1, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
The last turn-in day saw the first major snowfall of the winter, but despite the weather Dec. 5, 17 guns were turned in at St. Wenceslaus and five at St. Gregory.
That brought the total to more than 180 weapons turned in since St Gregory Parish began the program a few years ago. The process is anonymous, with no questions asked. Parish staff members and volunteers log the type of gun, and verify that it is unloaded and safe. At the close of the event, the guns are turned over to local law enforcement.
Monsignor Damien G. Nalepa, pastor of St. Gregory the Great, notes that the program offers a $100 reward for each workable automatic or semi-automatic handgun or assault rifle, and a $50 reward for any other workable gun turned in. Some of the weapons surrendered in September included rifles, shotguns and assorted handguns.
“Removing even one gun from our community makes a difference,” said Monsignor Nalepa, the driving force behind the program. “We appeal to all the citizens of our city to help stop the violence and turn in guns.”
The campaign is co-sponsored by The Catholic Review newspaper, which provided grants and is challenging its readers and all members of the community to contribute to a fund so that the gun buy-back program can be held more regularly. Christopher Gunty, associate publisher/editor of The Catholic Review, projects that $15,000 will be needed to sustain four gun collections per year at the two locations.
Members of the community who wish more information about the program may contact Monsignor Nalepa at St. Gregory, at 410-523-0061 or Third Order Regular Franciscan Father Peter Lyons, pastor of St. Wenceslaus, at 410-675-7304.
Tax-deductible contributions can be sent to: The Cathedral Foundation Inc., Attn.: Catholic Review Gun Buy-Back, P.O. Box 777, Baltimore, MD 21203.