PHILADELPHIA, June 6, 2012 — In his ongoing efforts to promote safety and peace, state Sen. Anthony H. Williams will kick off this year’s Neighborhood-to-Neighborhood Summer of Peace initiative by co-hosting a gun buyback.

The gun buyback, co-hosted by Uplift Solutions, Brown’s ShopRite, City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and state Rep. Harold James, will take place on Saturday, June 16, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Vare Recreation Center, 2600 Morris St. in Philadelphia.

Participants will receive $100 gift cards in exchange for turning in their guns, no questions asked.  There is a limit of two gift cards per person, while supplies last. No starter pistols, flares or air guns will be accepted.

Efforts such as these have shown effective results, both locally and across the country. Just last month in Los Angeles, more than 1,600 weapons were removed from the streets – including a military rocket launcher and assault rifles.

To date, Williams has helped steer some 400 dangerous weapons to the hands of police, who melt the firearms down. The aim is to remove unwanted, unused, and even illegal weapons before they fall into the wrong hands and become vehicles of crime.

“This is my fifth gun buyback event within the past year, and while it’s not a panacea, it is one of several tools in our arsenal to prevent violence,” Williams said. “Everyone responds to reward, and gun buybacks incentivize individuals to remove guns from society for good.”

The June 16 gun buyback is just the first of numerous events that the community can expect this summer as part of the senator’s second annual Summer of Peace initiative.

The initiative is an extension of the senator’s annual N2N Street Festival, which was suspended in 2011 in lieu of the Summer of Peace,  after a 20 plus-year run along Baltimore Avenue. Williams instead opted to re-direct resources that normally went to the festival’s operation to community-based efforts that helped promote youth development and curb violence through mini-grants. In 2012, he’s asking area businesses and foundations to continue that philanthropic effort.

“The inaugural Summer of Peace was extremely successful because it provided a viable template for how to support those grassroots organizations who struggle day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year, to help uplift our children and keep them from harm,” Williams said. “It reminded us of the power of community, where even small contributions can help lead toward safer, more tranquil neighborhoods where families can live happily and businesses can thrive.

“I’m confident that this year will be even better, and that this initiative will become the new summertime tradition in my district.”