ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) – A St. Louis pastor held a meeting at his church on Tuesday to talk with community leaders about a toy gun buyback program.
Pastor Rodney Francis said his plan is aimed at ending the "culture of violence."
"These toys introduce children to violence, and it makes them think that it is an acceptable way to interact with people," he said. "I am not saying it will end violence, but I do know this is a problem."
Pastor Francis said the next step is to talk with the community about the plan.
"This is all about having a conversation, and it is about starting to make change," he said. "Parents should think about getting their children toys that are not violent."
Guns were involved in at least 18 murders in St. Louis in 2013.
Christi Griffin was at the meeting.
"It is painful to see this going on," she said. "It is not the way it was 20, 30, or 40 years ago."
About two dozen people were at the meeting.
It was closed to the media, but Pastor Francis said he would release more details of his plan soon.
"It is still something we are working on," he said. “Will need input from young people too."
Pastor: A Toy Gun Buy Back May Help Curb Gun Violence