Following the shooting death of an airsoft-equipped 12-year old by police last month, community groups are sponsoring a program to get toy guns off the streets.
The program, organized by the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland, will trade youth a comic book in return for a toy gun, which will then be melted down and crafted into art.
The campaign comes on the heels of the death of Tamir Rice, who following a 911 call claiming Rice was sitting on the swing in a park with the gun tucked in his pants, was shot by a rookie Cleveland police officer forced out of a prior law enforcement job and is now on administrative leave.
“When I was a young guy, I was in a culture that reinforced violence,” Fred Ward, who runs the Khnemu Lighthouse Foundation community center, where the buyback will be held, told Fox 8 Cleveland. “I had toy guns so a lot of the reinforcements I had as a kid were dominated by the shoot ‘em up, bang-bang. But in this society right now, we need an alternative to that.”