Phi Beta Sigma’s “Gun Buy Back” event on Saturday was a success, fraternity chapter president Larry Harris said Tuesday. The group collected 23 guns in exchange for $100 gift cards to anyone who brought an operable firearm to the event.
Harris said it is a relief to get the guns off the streets. “We can’t accept [gun violence] as normal,” he said.
Some fraternity members have a personal connection to the issue as they have lost family to gun violence, Harris said. The group has taken notice of an increase in gun crimes, particularly among young people in Little Rock.
Officers with the Little Rock Police Department were on site Saturday but stayed far enough away from the collection zone so as not to discourage people from turning over guns. The LRPD collected the firearms and will send them to a local scrap yard to be destroyed.
The group expects to hold the event again in summer 2024, Harris said. Unused donations from Saturday’s event will carry forward to future buybacks. The fraternity does not exchange guns for gift cards throughout the year because it would require constant collaboration with the LRPD. Harris said that’s not feasible.
Phi Beta Sigma is available year-round as mentors for young men in the community. In July, the group will distribute three $1,000 scholarships to recent high school graduates who achieved at least a 2.5 GPA and are enrolled in a college.