Not long ago, local business-owner Yoni Nadav had a terrifying encounter with armed criminals.
"Four months ago, we got robbed in my house in the middle of the night," Nadav said. "It was me, my wife, and my two daughters, by gunpoint. It was four guys with with guns. The trauma ... has been terrible. ... To this day, my kids cannot sleep in their own room."
But Nadav took that trauma and decided to turn it into something positive.
The robbery motivated him to reach out to Philadelphia Police and start talking about addressing gun crime, he said.
On Friday, Nadav's store, Official Unlimited in North Broad Street, will be partnering with the 22nd District to hold the first gun buyback of 2018.
Citizens can get a $75 gift card to Official Unlimited, a department store selling top-name brand clothing, shoes and other products, for each surrendered gun, no questions asked.
Police are only asking that surrendered firearms be transported in a safe manner.
The principle of a gun buyback is simple: to get guns off the street, offer a reward, without fear of punishment.
Whether its grandpa's old firearm out of the attic or a weapon someone may not know how to safely dispose of, law enforcement agencies around the U.S. have been holding anonymous gun buybacks for years to help reduce the massive number of firearms on American streets. One benefit to buybacks is ensuring unwanted guns don't fall into the wrong hands.
"A lot can change from one stupid gun," Nadav said. "If somebody gets caught with an illegal gun, he could face five years in jail. So by returning the gun, you get your money, nobody asks you a question and you can live your life. Your life can change, instead of five years in jail, [you can go] back to normal life."
Nadav said the date of this buyback was advanced after the school shooting in Florida that killed 17 students and teachers. But it's also about trying to address the gun crime that is all too common in American cities like Philadelphia, he said, and he hopes to potentially hold similar events in the Camden and Wilmington areas, near his business' other locations in the Cherry Hill and Christiana malls.
"Wherever I have a store, we're going to donate back to the community," he said. "I'm not going to be out of business because of this, because God will pay you back."
Visit officialunlimited.com for more info.
Guns for money
Official Unlimited (2831 N. Broad St.) will hold hold the first gun buyback of 2018 on Friday, March 2.
Individuals will receive $75 gift cards to the store for each gun turned over, and aren't required to provide any personal information.
Police are asking all surrendered weapons be transported in a safe manner.
Questions? Contact the 22nd District at 215-686-3235.