CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. – A Crawfordsville church says it is trying to make its community safer by giving out grocery gift cards in exchange for peoples’ unwanted guns. And while the goal was to get firearms off the streets, it also got people talking.
The debate over guns is always one that gets folks fired up. But if this event proved one thing, it’s that people who have completely different opinions can still find a way to agreeably disagree.
David Hadley just wants to make Crawfordsville a safer place to live, so he and his church are handing out gift cards to anyone who turns in a gun or firearm accessory.
“Lots of people have told us that they supported and appreciated what we’re trying to do,” said Hadley of the Wabash Valley Presbyterian Church.
The way he looks at it, buying back guns gives members of the church a chance to exercise their guaranteed rights.
“We’re simply trying to exercising our second amendment right to buy these weapons that we think are causes of significant misery,” said Hadley.
And while almost every day we can hear of the pain caused by firearms, some say Hadley’s church is painting with too broad a brush.
“Good, honest people, law abiding citizens, are being demonized and lumped in with the same people shooting up schools when those are not the same types of people,” said gun owner and gun rights activist Dustin Snoeberger, who showed up at the event.
Gun rights activists at the event say Hadley’s endeavor, while well-intentioned, is misguided.
“There are no criminals that are going to come down to this police station and turn their guns in,” said Snoeberger.
Yet out here in the space between faith and firearms the only exchange was ideas and opinions.
“We had a discussion back and forth, about maybe why someone would turn in their rifle,” said gun owner Alan Metsker, “and I found it to be pretty weak and easily countered so I said ‘I’m going to hang on to this [his semi-automatic rifle] and hang out here and we’re going to have a good day.’”
Two groups, staring down one issue; opposed, but civil.
“It was just people with different ideologies, practicing their freedoms and there’s room for competition in the public marketplace,” said Metsker, “for ideas, for bidding for rifles.”
Hadley says they plan on taking the guns they collected and having them melted down.