Piece for peace: Lack of funding stalls Akron gun buyback program

Posted at 4:05 PM, Aug 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-26 16:56:56-04

Patrice Smith lost her brother, J'Suan Slayton, after he was shot and killed during an Akron robbery in 2010. At the time, he had two children and a third on the way.

"It's devastating the amount of pain and grief that my family has endured and also countless other families," Smith told "He was a working man. He was a barber, self-employed. He wasn't a street guy at all."

Now, Smith would like to see more guns off the streets.

A local gun buyback program aims to do just that, but organizers are having to postpone the event due to lack of funding.

Piece for Peace was scheduled for this Friday and Saturday at The Word Church in Akron. It allows residents to turn in guns, no questions asked, no identification required. In exchange—get a $50 or $100 gift card.

Akron last held a gun buyback in 2008 and collected more than 600 guns but this time there was a cash shortfall.

So far, businesses and city and county offices have donated about $28,000 but Akron City Council Member Tara Mosley said $50,000 is needed to buy the gift cards.

"We just didn't get the response that we hoped to get from them," Mosley told

"It's a little disheartening that they're unable to get the funding that's needed," added Smith.

Those who support the idea have heard criticism that the gun buybacks don't reduce crime and those turning them in are not the criminals.

But Smith challenges those who call it ineffective.

"But what if it's not?" asked Smith. "But what if it's not? Just one person, one person's life can make the world of difference."

Mosley said they hope to raise enough money to hold the event in October.