Oak Park neighbors seek to collect up to a million bullets to make KC streets safer

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Neighborhood volunteers will be collecting up to a million bullets in the urban core this weekend in an attempt to make Kansas City’s streets safer.

People can drop off their ammunition at the Oak Park Neighborhood Association office at 35th Street and Indiana Avenue.

Gun buybacks have been tried before and they did little to stop street violence. Now, the Oak Park Neighborhood Association wants to slow down the shootings by convincing people who want peace to turn in their ammunition.

The record setting pace of homicides so far this year has convinced neighborhood organizers to try to bring people together by tossing a few bullets in the buckets they have set up.

“What we’re trying to do today and this weekend, we are going to have a marathon,” Pat Clarke, president of the neighborhood group, said. “We want to see how many bullets people will turn in. Hey, if you turn in a gun, that’s fine. The thing about it is there’s no trick to this. Nobody is going to get arrested for this. Nobody is going to get picked up for this. But maybe out of this, we will stop people from just shooting other people.”

Oak Park has one of the only youth programs operating this summer in the urban core. ENJOY, which stands for “Engineering Neighborhood Jobs and Opportunities for Youth,” has kids picking up trash, in addition to collecting bullets, in hopes that for a few hours a day they’ll be out of the line of fire.

A neighborhood podcast goes live at 6 p.m. to promote the bullet collection. Organizers believe every bullet that ends up in their bucket may be saving a life instead of ending one.

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