A Charlotte church invited folks to exchange their guns for gifts over the weekend. The New Life Fellowship Center has been doing that around the holidays for the past six years. This year, the pastor says some of the people turning in their guns had the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut on their minds.
John Kee has been the pastor at New Life Fellowship Center for more than 17 years. He says during his time as pastor of the Double Oaks community, he's learned a lot. Especially about violence in his community.
"We have a gun problem in Charlotte, so for the last five years, we used the gun drive, to literally take some of those guns off the street," Kee says.
The three-day gun drive this weekend brought in more than 93 guns, which owners exchanged for gift cards ranging from $25 to $50 for handguns and up to $100 for automatic rifles. The owners ranged in age from 14 to 87.
Pastor Kee says discussions after the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut helped raise more awareness about gun violence. Some owners turned down gift cards and explained that they just wanted the guns out of their homes.
"Be it in Newtown, be it in Charlotte, be it in Chicago, wherever it is, it's still issues that need to be addressed," he says.
Church leaders turned over the guns to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. CMPD officers will record the serial numbers before destroying them.