LANSING — Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero’s office plans to ask for at least $50,000 in donations from philanthropic and business groups to launch a program aimed at removing guns from streets.
Details for the buyback program are still in the works, so it’s not clear when it would begin or how it would operate. But Chad Gamble, the city’s chief operating officer, said administrators hope to raise funds as soon as possible in light of three gun-related homicides in recent weeks.
Bernero has called for Lansing police Chief Teresa Szymanski, Bishop David Maxwell of his Office of Community and Faith-Based Initiatives and other city leaders to come up with plans to address the recent rise in violent crime, Gamble said.
“We want to make sure that the community knows that we have been working on this, that we’re continuing to be creative,” he said.
On Sunday, 16-year-old Levon Edward Wilson, of Lansing, was shot and killed outside a house party near the intersection of North Jenison Avenue and Maple Street. Days earlier, Michelle Packard, a 34-year-old doctoral candidate at Michigan State University, died after she was hit in the head by a stray bullet while waiting for Lansing’s July 4 fireworks show at Adado Riverfront Park.
Denzel Moss, a 17-year-old incoming senior at Waverly High School, was killed June 11 in a shooting outside a townhouse on South Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
City administrators and Lansing police want to develop a stronger awareness and enforcement plan for Lansing’s teen curfew, which is 10 p.m. for children 12 and younger and midnight for 13- to 16-year-olds. A gun buyback program might include an exchange of guns for gift cards to local businesses, Gamble said, adding that they also are considering involving church and parks staff to talk about recreation opportunities for kids.