Photo courtesy: Peter Hutton, Hutton Miller.

By: Jen Russon

Residents in northwest Broward County who need a safe place to turn in a gun they no longer use or want, won’t have to travel far. Local nonprofit 4FNow, launched in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas massacre, has partnered with the Coral Springs Police Department for a gun buyback.

The organization’s name 4F, which is short for fewer firearms, fewer funerals, said they are not interested in making political statements or challenging anyone’s Second Amendment rights. Rather, they seek to reduce the amount of unwanted guns, and hopefully make communities safer, while inspiring others to do the same.

“Any time we can take guns off the street, we decrease the chance that they fall into the hands of a criminal who would use them to harm our citizens or commit crimes,” said Coral Springs Police Chief Clyde Parry.

Founder Douglas Eaton, the parent of a Marjory Stoneman student, said the CSPD has given expert advice in how to run a voluntary firearms exchange program and were it not for their advice, they could not hold the event.

“Only an agency PD can do a buyback,” Eaton said, adding that the Coral Springs Police weapons disposal experts will recover unloaded firearms from the trunks of cars at the event.

Parkland parents, David Block, and Peter Hutton have also joined Eaton in founding 4Fnow whose mission statement is “Keep kids safe from gun violence”. The group has garnered support from Debbie Hixon, who lost her husband, Chris, a teacher and coach in the school shooting.

“We failed our kids because we didn’t create a safe environment for them, and we were horrified by what happened. We were also inspired to stand beside our children as they try to make the world a safer place,” said Eaton.

Eaton said the apolitical organization is a sustainable way to raise awareness and inspire other communities to come together and do something about gun violence.

With a goal of raising $25,000 for the buyback, 4FNow is committed to following through even if they fall short.

“We have no plan B. We will keep working until we meet our goals,” he said.

The event is not restricted to residents of northwest Broward County. The Coral Springs Police Department do not need ID when guns are turned over at the buyback. Gun exchanges fall under three categories: antique firearms or older shotguns, newer handguns and rifles, and assault rifles. The exchange will be met with gift cards in amounts up to $250.

“The Coral Springs PD has an effective public relations department. I expect an excellent turnout at the buyback,” Eaton said, adding that he anticipates it to be as successful as a Miami Police Department buyback in Henderson Park back in March.

Eaton said, “Look around the house for any unused or unwanted guns. Speak to your family and friends about it.”

The buyback will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., September 15 in the city hall parking garage at 9500 W. Sample Road. Contact Sheila Lustigman at 954-346-1282 or 4fnow.org.