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Collection program asks kids to give up toy guns

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Posted at 8:09 AM, Dec 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-03 10:09:56-05

An Ohio group is asking children and teens to give up their toy guns and receive a comic book in return.

The community activists will host a toy gun buy-back Dec. 13 at the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland, Ohio, in response to the police shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

Rice was shot and killed by Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann outside the Cudell Recreation Center on Nov. 22, after he thought Rice was reaching for a real gun.

Rice was carrying an airsoft pistol that shoots plastic pellets, but the gun looked real because it had the orange safety cap removed.

The toy gun buy-back event is being organized by community activist Yvonne Pointer and Rid-All Green Partnership co-founder Damien Forshe.

Pointer explained the program was actually conceived 18 months ago by community leader Fred Ward, who posted a video to his Facebook page showing a two-year-old boy trading his plastic gun for a comic book.

Pointer told Cleveland television station WEWS it was then that she realized Ward had created a program that could be effective in taking toy guns out of the hands of children and teens.

"These toy guns today are just too real, too realistic," said Pointer. "We really feel this program could work and help make a difference."

"If you have a better idea, do it. This is our concept to say we have got to do something to stop the violence," Pointer added.

Forshe and his team at the Rid-All Green Partnership created the comic books that are being given to the children who turn-in their toy guns.

The comic books are filled with important lessons about sustainability.

"It's an alternative to go from the violence into the light of education," explained Forshe. "We stand on education very heavily, and we know that education leads to a better life."

The toy gun buy back takes place on Saturday Dec. 13, at the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland at 6114 Broadway Ave., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.