New Orleans musician offers children trumpets for guns

Christel Deskins

A New Orleans trumpeter, vocalist and bandleader is offering children trumpets in exchange for guns. Shamarr Allen started the project last week after a nine-year-old boy was shot dead and two teenagers were wounded, news agencies reported. Mr Allen told WVUE-TV: “I have a nine-year-old son and I grew up […]

A New Orleans trumpeter, vocalist and bandleader is offering children trumpets in exchange for guns.

Shamarr Allen started the project last week after a nine-year-old boy was shot dead and two teenagers were wounded, news agencies reported.

Mr Allen told WVUE-TV: “I have a nine-year-old son and I grew up in that environment so I understand what those kids are going through.

“They aren’t bad kids, they just don’t have anything to do.”

After checking with police to make sure he would not get any children in trouble and would be able to give police the guns for safe disposal, Mr Allen posted a note on his Instagram account saying: “To all the youth in New Orleans, Bring me a gun and I’ll give you a trumpet no questions asked.”

He told WWL-TV that his life changed when he was 12 or 13 and first played for tips in the French Quarter.

“I realised, ‘OK, I can do this’,” Mr Allen recounted.

“Now, I’m travelling the world, this is my career because of that trumpet. So if it can do that for me, it can do that for someone else.”

He quickly ran out of trumpets he owned but was not using, but other people offered to help.

Then Mr Allen started an online fundraiser with a 6,500 dollar (£5,100) goal.

By Tuesday afternoon, four days in, he had raised 8,800 dollars (£6,900) for trumpets costing about 250 dollars (£200) plus instruction books.

Mr Allen is also raising money by selling T-shirts with the slogan “Trumpet is my weapon”, WWL-TV reported.

Several musicians have agreed to offer free virtual lessons to children who get the trumpets, he said.

“You pick out the trumpet you want because it’s always a bunch of different ones,” Mr Allen, who is also getting donated instruments, told WDSU-TV.

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