The city of Chester collected 288 guns, in exchange for grocery store gift certificates, during a gun buy back, Saturday.
KYW’s Pat Loeb says it’s part of the city’s stepped-up efforts to combat corrosive violence.
Chester resident Carmen Hamilton turned in a disassembled bolt rifle but she said she was really just there for a friend:
Hamilton: “Someone turned it in to me. Somebody else that didn’t want to bring it in themselves cause they didn’t want anybody seeing them bringing it in so I brought it over.”
Loeb: “Why do you think they didn’t want anyone to… ?”
Hamilton: “Same reason I was hesitant. Do I really want anyone thinking I had the gun? No but to get the guns off the street, I’ll take it over there.”
The question of whether such events really rid the streets of guns is up for debate but Chester police officer Ernie Manerchia (at left in photo) says it can’t hurt:
“It’s not going to be the cure-all but it’s one way we can at least get some of the guns off the street.”
Chester has been struggling with gun violence. After four homicides in eight days, in June, the mayor declared a month-long state of emergency. Less than 24 hours after it ended, July 23rd, there was another homicide.
The reward for turning in a gun was a $100 gift card to the Collins family Shop Rite, which is actually in Eddystone. There is no supermarket in Chester.
The effort cost nearly $30,000 but Bill Collins says a safer Chester is good business:
“People can shop any time, they don’t have to shop only during the daylight and we have a lot of associates who come from Chester. It’s a win-win for everybody involved.”