Crawfordsville church offers gift cards for guns

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — A Crawfordsville church is planning a gun buyback.

The Wabash Avenue Presbyterian Church is asking people to give up “military-style, semi-automatic rifles,” as well as bump stocks and high-capacity magazines. In exchange, the church will give out grocery store gift cards. 

David Headley, a board member at the church, said he was disturbed by the Feb. 14 high school shooting that took 17 lives in Parkland, Florida.

“We knew we couldn’t realistically expect to change law or policy at the state or national level,” Hadley said. “And our faith tells us to begin where you are.”

The church has already hosted three gun buybacks, including one in 2004. 

Church leaders are asking gun owners to meet them at the Crawfordsville Police Department on April 28 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Police will then escort church members to Nucor, a steel company, where workers will melt the guns. 

“If we can take any number of these out of circulation, we think that we’re making our community and our children safer,” Hadley said. 

John Foster, Sporting Goods Manager at Crawfordsville’s Big R store, said the buyback is “probably not going to help a lot.”

“It’s not the gun that’s doing the crime. It’s the person operating it,” Foster said. “Until they can deal with that and put them in jail where they belong, it’s probably not going to really be solved.”

The church will give away $25 gift cards to Kroger and County Market grocery stores for the gun accessories and $100 gift cards for the rifles. 

Hadley said they’ll also consider taking semi-automatic handguns. 

“Some people who own (guns) have decided since some of these recent shootings that they don’t want them,” Hadley said. 

Church leaders said police are not sponsoring the event; they are only providing the space and the escort.