East side church trades guns for cash

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Members of an east side congregation, led by a chaplain from the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, prayed over table with four guns, bought with church money, Sunday.

This weekend marked “Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath” when ministers were called to address gun violence from the pulpit.

Bishop Damon Roach of First Christian Missionary Baptist Church has bought approximately 15 illegal guns in the last month and turned them over to sheriff’s deputies with the help of an ex-gang member and prison parolee who is now a member of his church.

“The guns ain’t getting us nowhere if we’re killing each other,” said Brian Albron who was released from prison late last year after serving a drug sentence. “I have guys calling me, willing to turn them in and ready to turn their life over.”

Roial Harris, 24, realized it was time to turn her life around after she survived being shot three times on the west side last summer.

“I feel joy when I come to church,” said the mother of two. “Its just bad out there and they ain’t teaching kids no better. Now kids are getting guns.

“It just didn’t seem real so I had to grasp the fact that I got shot and I dang near died and that I was still alive just to see my kids because I didn’t know what they would do without me.”

Members of “Organizing for Action Indiana” were signing up new supporters at Bishop Roach’s church one day after they rallied against gun violence at the statehouse.

“Groups have been gathering to bring attention to the community and to our elected officials that this is a problem,” said organizer Linda Porter. “Everyday there are two people that are killed from gun violence in Indiana and we see it as a national issue but we’re here working at a local level.”

Porter said her organization will meet March 18th at the IBEW hall in Indianapolis to plot strategy to support President Obama’s illegal gun purchase legislation.

Indianapolis’ homicide rate is approximately one-third higher than it was at this time in 2012.

Albron said many people don’t know the criminal charges they could face by merely possessing a firearm.

“They don’t know they’ll be getting time for these weapons so a lot of people don’t know the consequences behind them especially the automatics, so, I just say, ‘Move away from the environment and quit being a follower.’”

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