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Gun buy-back event planned for Saturday

ShopRiteStephanie Rawlings-Blake

People who surrender a gun can receive a $100 gift card for ShopRite at a gun buy-back event Saturday in Baltimore.

The "Goods for Guns" collection, to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at New All Saints Catholic Church, is an effort to combat gun violence in the city, said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. A gun buy-back by ShopRite last year yielded nearly 500 guns.

"The number of victims and the lives lost as a result of gun violence is still far too high in our city," Rawlings-Blake said. "We're asking people to surrender violence as they surrender their firearms for an opportunity at a more positive future."

The mayor said police have taken 1,036 guns off the streets in Baltimore this year and made 674 gun arrests.

Marshall Klein, chief operations officer of Klein's Family Markets, which operates ShopRite, said the goal is to exceed the number of guns turned in during last year's event. "We want to show our commitment to the needs of the community, and to the priorities of the community and the mayor and City Council. We're trying to do our part to help stem the violence in Baltimore City," he said.

The event, at 4408 Liberty Heights Ave., is being held in conjunction with the opening of a ShopRite store in Howard Park. The 68,000-square-foot store will open for business at 1 p.m. July 31. It's the first supermarket in the community in about 15 years.

About 80 percent of the 250 workers hired to staff the store are from the local community, Klein said.

Rawlings-Blake stressed the importance of partnerships with the community, including faith leaders and businesses, as a key component toward making the city safer.

"I want us to be a dramatically safer city, and the only way that will happen is with firm partnerships and firm collaboration with the community," she said.

ywenger@baltsun.com

twitter.com/yvonnewenger

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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