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Gun buyback event exceeds expectations

This gun buyback event was scheduled to last 2 days but was shut down after 2 hours because so many people donated firearms.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Today the Richland County Sheriff's Department, in partnership with other community groups collected 128 firearms from donations.

Pastor Michael Baker describes his reasoning behind hosting a gun buyback event at Greater Saint Luke Baptist Church, "A lot of families are broken right now. A lot of families are hurting. A lot of families have experienced some type of tragedy, some type of murder, some type of set back" 

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Baker says that events like are so important in communities because they can create unity and help build better family structures.

"Bring the family into the focus of what the family is supposed to be. So we want to provide some holistic development for the families. We’re going to be doing that here today."

The event kicked off just after 3 p.m. and had a steady line of cars driving through the parking lot. 

Many of the visitors told News19 that since the event was advertised as "no questions asked"  they felt good to bring their firearms.

Those people donating would put their firearms in their trunk and then Sheriff's with the department would take them out and put them in a coffin for display. The Sheriff's Department says the guns will then be checked to make sure they aren't stolen or used for a crime. After that, the guns will be destroyed.\

RELATED: Midlands gun buyback event offers money in exchange for surrendered guns

Pastor Bakers says this is a great starting point for the community, but there is still more work to be done to prevent anymore violence.

"The political leaders, the pastors, the police, and the principles all need to come together to put something together for the parents, it’s going to take all of us to help these parents be able to control what's going on. As the saying goes, it take a village"

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