ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- St. Louis area religious leaders have scheduled a toy gun exchange on July 13th.
The aim is to encourage parents to get rid of toys that resemble any weapons.
"This will send a clear message to our kids and community that we want to end this culture of violence," Rev. Rodney Francis said. "These toys desensitize kids to violence."
The toy gun exchange will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 13th at three locations.
The O'Fallon Recreation Complex, North County Recreation Complex and the Jackie Joyner-Kersey Center.
Volunteers and donations of "non-violent" toys are needed.
"We need people to participate," Rev. Francis said. "We will have airplanes, balls, gloves and a laundry list of other toys to exchange for toy guns."
The toy gun exchange is something Rev. Francis and others have been working on for months.
"It is about doing something," he said. "This is not the only answer, but it can impact this culture of violence."
Rev. Francis said he does not have a problem with adults who legally own real guns.
"This is not about that," he said. "It's about changing the way we nurture our children."
Rev. Francis also said that toy guns can put police officers is tough situations.
"If an officer sees that how can he tell if it is real or not," he said.
St. Louis County Police Officer Randy Vaughn agreed.
"Unless it looks nothing like a real gun there is the potential for a problem," he said.
For more information on the toy gun exchange click on the following link: