Recent spurts of local and national violence have renewed efforts to remove as many guns as possible from York City streets, where four people have died of gunshot wounds since the beginning of November.

On Monday, dozens of talented kids will bang on drums while their grown-up supporters collect donations from the thousands of people expected to attend the New Year's Eve celebration on Continental Square.

If 10,000 people each donate a dollar, that'll be enough to host a gun buyback program as early as February, according to Anthony Zorbaugh, the community outreach case manager at the York County Youth Development Center.

The center is working with the York City Police Department to raise money for a buyback.

The idea grew out of a discussion between adults.

But, Zorbaugh said, "As soon as we proposed the idea, (the kids) were all behind it."

Dubbed "Beats for Bullets," the performance is based on the popular New York-based STOMP show. The group will perform from 6:15 to 6:45 p.m. on Continental Square during the children's countdown portion of the New Year's Eve event.

The drummers will include kids, ages 11 to 18, from the development center, local churches and other organizations. The group has also performed during York's Halloween and St. Patrick's Day parades.

Until 9 p.m., staff from the development center will collect donations for the gun buyback program.


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With $10,000, the police department could expect to collect and destroy about 200 guns, said Danny Evans, community and youth outreach coordinator for the police department.

The last time York City Police hosted a gun buyback, most of the guns were relics turned in by older people, Evans said.

This time, Evans said, organizers are brainstorming ways to compel guns out of the hands of younger people. For example, he said, they're considering paying for guns with gift certificates from athletic stores.

"We really want to appeal to the younger audience because we really want to get mainstream guns off the street, and not just somebody's relic that was sitting around," Evans said. "Our desire and hope is still to really save a life."

- Erin James may also be reached at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.