BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Community members are gearing up this week to exchange toy guns for nonviolent toys as a way to combat gun violence.
Several kids showed up on Jefferson Avenue Monday to take part in the initiative.
Two siblings, Claire and Luis Torres, say the mass shooting at the Tops nearby was an eye-opening moment for them.
"Those ten people who lost their lives shouldn't have died just because someone walked in there stupid with a gun," 14-year-old Luis Torres.
Luis sister says people shouldn't be treated differently.
"I feel like no one should be hated just because we have different skin colors," 13-year-old, Claire Torres says. "We have the same body parts of the body."
Peacemakers and Buffalo F.A.T.H.E.R.S. Organization has set up this three-day toy gun trade-in event.
"My friend over here who lost his mother to gun violence," says Leonard Kane, president of Buffalo F.A.T.H.E.R.S. Organization. "This is an opportunity for us to make our community and make our families more aware of guns and the impact it has."
Mark Talley, whose mother Geraldine Talley was murdered in Tops mass shooting, says initiatives like this are vital when trying to change hearts and minds.
"Since the Supreme Court made it more easier for citizens to own a gun, you definitely don't want children, especially children of color, to get doctrine to think it's okay to play with guns," Mark Talley says.
So children like Luis and his sister will now be able to pick up a ball instead of a gun.
"So replacing guns, whether fake or real, is a good teaching standard for children and adults."
The exchange of a toy gun for a nonviolent toy is happening across from the Jefferson Avenue Tops from 12 p.m. until 6 p.m., June 27-30.
Kids can bring water guns, Nerf guns, B.B. guns, etc., in exchange for toys like basketballs, remote cars, and skateboards.
Participation in the event enters you in a raffle to win a new bike or skateboard.
Food will also be provided for this event.