Community leaders join city and county leaders at the announcement for the new gun buyback program.

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Will Jones has been named Finance Director for the City of Houston following a unanimous vote by Houston City Council.

State Rep. Ron Reynolds has been elected Chair of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus.

Community leaders support Oct. 8 gun buyback

ReShonda Tate

Members from several local community organizations were on hand to throw their support behind the City of Houston and Harris County as they continue the fight to get guns off the streets.

In partnership with the Houston Police Department, officers will conduct another Gun Buyback Operation on Saturday, Oct. 8 from 8 a.m. until noon at the Metro Park and Ride at 11050 Harwin Drive in Alief. It will be held in the heart of the districts of City Councilmember Tiffany D. Thomas and Houston Congressman Al Green.

Depending on the type of weapon, citizens turning in firearms will be rewarded with a gift card in the amounts of $50 to $200. All firearms will be retrieved with a no-question-asked policy by law enforcement. Funding for the program was provided by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

City and county leaders have joined together to invest over $2 million in funds into upcoming gun buyback events. And they’re getting financial support from local community partners.

“On behalf of the One Council, a conglomerate of the local chapters of Phi Beta Sigma in the Houston area, we made a financial contribution to be used toward marketing and promoting this buyback initiative,” said Cliff McBean, president of the Fort Bend Chapter of the fraternity. “Our goal is to assist in giving as many people as possible an opportunity to get those guns off the streets.”

The Oct. 8 event is part of Mayor Sylvester’s Turner One Safe Houston Initiative to reduce violent crimes throughout the city.

Officials say they will be cracking down on “ghost guns” – privately manufactured guns that can’t be traced to a manufacturer – after a large amount of the weapons were dropped off at the first gun buyback event in order to receive gift cards that are worth more than the amount it costs to make the gun. Officials said they would accept ghost guns, but participants should not expect a gift card for dropping them off.

Tiffany Thomas, who represents District F, welcomed the contributions from the community partners.

“Public safety is all of our responsibility, and especially since the murder of George Floyd, as a council and with the Mayor’s administration, we have worked intentionally about addressing crime through a variety of ways,” Thomas said.

“The gun buyback event in District F is one of the resources and tools we’re deploying to make sure that residents…feel safe in their neighborhoods. And marginalized, disenfranchised and low-income communities often have higher incidences of crime. This is about making sure, regardless of what your income is, your experience, education level, you should feel safe coming from your home to the grocery store, the convenience store, or walking to the park. And so if we can remove 100 guns, we’ve done what we needed to do.”

Officials also said they would add multiple lines, after the last event was expected to end at noon, but lasted hours longer and did not end until 7 p.m.

The City of Houston hosted its first gun buyback event in late July at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in Third Ward in partnership with HPD and Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis. The city collected 845 firearms and distributed up to $100,000 in gift cards.

According to the city, due to the overwhelming response from citizens, more than 150 people were given a future voucher for the next gun buyback event.

“The turnout demonstrates there are too many guns on our streets, and people want to get them out of their possession,” Mayor Turner said.

Although some considered the event a success, there was major backlash from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. David Mitcham, the assistant to Harris County DA Kim Ogg, expressed concerns on whether the event is effective enough for solving crimes.

New TSU, UH poll examines Texas gun safety reforms

Defender News Service

A new survey of Texans by Texas Southern University and the University of Houston appears to show support across the political divide for support for tightening controls on guns and gun ownership.

Some of the key findings in “Texas Trends Survey 2022 – Gun Safety” report include:

Ban gun ownership to those with restraining orders

90% Democrats

71% Independents

74% Republicans.

Require background checks

90% Democrats

73% Independents

70% Republicans

Enforce “Red flag” laws

89% Democrats

72% Independents

59% Republicans.

Change minimum purchase age to 21

87% Democrats

65% Independents

52% Republicans.

Change purchase age on assault rifles to 21

87% Democrats

66% Independents

56% Republicans