While St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson is raising funds for a gun buyback program, Pastor Rodney Francis of the Washington Tabernacle Baptist Church wants to catch kids before they even think about wielding a weapon.
His church is planning a toy gun buyback later this summer.
Francis says there are no violent video games, gory movies or toy weapons in his family’s house.
“My wife and I feel that we need to do everything we can to not allow our kids to get exposed to this too early. They’re going to get exposed to it but we can protect them early on so they don’t get a distorted view of what those can do to the human body,” he explained.
“We want to engage the culture of violence and one of the strategies that we thought we might be able to use is to educate parents about the danger of allowing kids to continue this access to toy guns and playing with toy guns.”
Francis says parents would be able to trade their toy guns, swords, or other weapons in for a more “wholesome” toy.
He admits that it can be a challenge for parents to find something wholesome for their kids to do and society needs to make that easier. Francis says the distraction of a job is one that’s proven to keep kids who are in danger from getting in trouble.