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The bullet holes on the front of Raseesha Brightman’s Point Breeze house are a painful reminder of the day her friend was killed by two men with assault rifles.
Early that morning of June 3, two men riddled her home on 21st Street near Titan with bullets as she and five others, including victim Joseph Addison, 22, sat on the stoop.

“The gun was thundering,” said Brightman, 23. “It’s never going to be out of my mind.”

Three days later, Richard Pagliarella opened the second location of his Ricci Bros. Hoagies shop on the same corner where Addison was shot multiple times.

Feeling compelled to do something, Pagliarella offered two hoagies, a soda and chips for each firearm brought to the store last week.

“I was hoping we would get one [gun], save one life and have one less gun on the street,” Pagliarella said.

But they received none.

Gun-buyback programs are used nationwide to reduce the number of illegal guns with police, community organizations and businesses offering incentives in exchange for guns, no questions asked.

But some – as Pagliarella found out – work better than others.

Melchezedek Wells, who was once involved in a life of crime himself, said he would have never turned in his gun for a hoagie or groceries.

Instead, the president of One Day at a Time Recovery Inc. said the programs should offer life-changing incentives – like a job.

“Their gun is a way of living,” Wells said. “We need to do something to cater to the needs of these guys.”

Source: Jan Ransom for the Philadelphia Daily News.

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