Middlebury Church Paying People to Hand in their Guns

Middlebury Church Paying People to Hand in their Guns

Every month since January, the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society in Middlebury has chosen a different cause to support.
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Every month since January, the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society in Middlebury has chosen a different cause to support.

This month is a little different; they are teaming up with Middlebury Police to give an incentive to get rid of unwanted or unused guns.

"It's a good way to make sure that your gun doesn't end up out of state, involved in some crime or in the hands of someone who's unstable or takes their own life," said Barnaby Feder, the minister of the church.

"We don't want guns floating around that aren't in a safe place, that aren't locked up," added Poppy Rees, the Director of Religious Education for the church.

Police agree--and they say the program will help curb some of those issues.

"We have several open cases where weapons have not been recovered," said Sergeant Michael Christopher, referring to stolen guns. "We have no idea where those weapons are."

Here's how the program works: anyone who turns in a gun to the Middlebury Police Department gets a voucher for 50 dollars. The money comes from the church--right out of the collection plate.

The church usually collects $1,600-$2,000 per month, and they designate half of that money to the cause-of-the-month.

The church does lean progressive, but Feder hopes this is a cause everyone, on both sides of the gun control debate, can get behind.

"There are certainly people that will look at this who will be suspicious of our motives," he said. "The common ground is that everybody wants more safety."

The incentive program is going on until the end of August. Any unused funds will go Gun Sense Vermont, an organization that lobbies for common sense gun laws based on polls of Vermonters.

Next month's cause is Stop Hunger Vermont.
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