St. Louis Pastors Hope to Combat Gun Violence by Organizing Toy Gun Buy Back

| by Amanda Schallert
article imagearticle image

St. Louis area pastors are trying to fight gun violence by striking it at one of its alleged origins — childhood. 

The pastors are encouraging kids to give up their toy guns by organizing a toy gun buy back, according to

The buy back is aimed at spurring dialogue about gun violence in Missouri, according to

Pastor Rodney Francis, a pastor involved in the cause, said discouraging children from playing with toy guns would help end a “culture of violence.”

“It all starts when they are children,” Francis said.

Some families have given up their toy guns as part of the program.

Johnise McKinney was one of the mothers who participated in the program, saying that she did not want her son to grow up playing with toy guns.

"(Some people are) like 'oh it's just a gun, it's a water gun it won't do much,'” McKinney said. “But to me it's very important because eventually those toy guns turn into real guns and that's not something I want for my son."

Francis said kids playing with guns is one piece of the gun problem that needs to be addressed.

“It is all about changing the way they engage with others,” he said. “I don’t know why would people ever think that it is okay to let kids play with things like that.”