Metro-Detroit Episcopal church’s buyback program nets 224 guns

Posted Dec 11, 2023

[Episcopal News Service] Hundreds of Metro Detroiters participated in a gun buyback on Dec. 9 at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Southfield, Michigan, where the preliminary tallies indicate 224 guns taken in, including 133 handguns and 87 long guns. Nearly $19,000 was given away in gift cards.

“This is a tremendous success,” said the Very Rev. Chris Yaw, rector of St. David’s. “People were kind, orderly and extremely grateful for the opportunity to give back guns they no longer wanted.”

The buyback comes on the heels of a months-long New York Times investigation into gun disposal methods by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Mike McIntire, which featured St. David’s on the front page. The article revealed an open secret: that states and municipalities, like Michigan, choose not to dispose of donated firearms, but to save money by allowing a third party to take the guns for free, break them down, and then sell expensive parts on the internet.

“We are appalled at this kind of process,” said Yaw, who plans to follow up with government officials on this information, “The good people who come to our church and give us their weapons are under the assumption that these weapons would be destroyed not recycled, and we will work hard to see that this in fact will happen, as soon as possible.”

St. David’s partners with the Oakland County Board of Commissioners and the Southfield Police Department in these efforts.

St. David’s Episcopal Church has been serving the people of Metro Detroit since March 2, 1952. The church held its first gun buyback in October of 2022 and, along with four other sites, took in 353 guns.