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'Symbolic of a culture of peace'
[December 31, 2012]

'Symbolic of a culture of peace'

Dec 31, 2012 (The Pueblo Chieftain - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Unwanted and unused guns were being collected Sunday afternoon at Wesley United Methodist Church.

The gun collection was in response to the tragic elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., a couple weeks ago.

"Ever since that tragedy, we have had a constant barrage of grief and people questioning why God allows bad things like this to happen," Wesley United Methodist Church Pastor Kim James said. "That really got to me and made me think the clergy should be doing more than comforting the grieving and actually try and make it stop." Only seven rifles, one handgun and 30 rounds of ammunition were collected, but James said the gun collection was more symbolic than anything else.

"We knew we weren't going to get a ton of people turning in weapons today, but I think it makes a statement," James said.

''That statement is there doesn't have to be fear in the world and the immediate reaction to tragedies doesn't have to be, 'let's go get armed.' '' James said mostly older people turned in guns they have had for a long time and didn't want to have around anymore.

"It's a good thing any time you can get unwanted and unneeded guns out of homes where they can be no danger," James said. "A lot of these people who are older have to consider what's going to happen to their guns and who's going to possess them in the future." James was joined by a group of 10 pastors from around town at the gun collection.

Michele DesLauriers, a member of the Catholic Charities board, said she agrees with James that the gun collection is more symbolic than anything.

"It's symbolic of a culture of peace," she said.

The gun collection lasted two hours and after all of the guns were collected, members of the Pueblo Police Department came to take them and dispose of them.

"We realize it's a small thing but it's something," James said. ___ (c)2012 The Pueblo Chieftain (Pueblo, Colo.) Visit The Pueblo Chieftain (Pueblo, Colo.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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