500 More Guns Seized Over Same Time In 2016

Some Community Members Hoping To Stop Violence
Posted at 3:41 PM, Aug 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-23 19:31:36-04

Linking the problem to an increase in drug activity, Metro Police statistics showed an increase of 500 guns seized in 2017 over the same time in 2016.

According to Metro Police data, 1,884 guns have been seized this year so far, as opposed to 1,366 from the same time in 2016. Police spokesperson Don Aaron said many of the guns found have been in accompaniment of large quantities of drugs. Aaron said drug raids involving guns have always been happening across the city.

One local bishop hasn't been surprised to hear that statistic. Marcus Campbell, a preacher at Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, has a program to help teens or young adults who are former gang members.

"Our program is pretty much just based on showing them something that's different from their environment," said Campbell. "Because their environment is the guns, the drugs [and] peer pressure from being bullied."

It's called G.A.N.G., also known as Gentlemen And Not Gangsters. Wednesday evening, 17 men and teens graduated from the program.

"I'm an ex-gangster disciple. I'm just like them. I've been in penitentiary. Everyone they've done, I've done it," Campbell said. "You go on instagram, and you find these young kids with AK-47's, all kinds of assault rifles... It's like, where are the guns coming from?"

Campbell said he takes the participants on trips to college campuses, has them measured for nice suits, or invites them over to hopefully influence them in a positive way.

"If you change your mind, you change your grind," Campbell said.

When they graduate, the men receive a state certificate from representative Harold Love. Campbell said the program has grown since its first year. All of the men who graduated have been former gang members.