Jul. 2, 2013 11:00 am

Digit All Systems hosts Computers for Guns buy-back at downtown arts center

The computer training nonprofit is partnering with the Baltimore Police Department and the Mayor's Office on Criminal Justice on the first Computer for Guns Initiative in the city.

Digit All Systems founder Lance Lucas at TEDxBaltimore in January.

Only a gun will get you one of the 150 laptops Digit All Systems founder Lance Lucas has to trade.

Next Saturday at the Downtown Cultural Arts Center, Lucas’ computer training nonprofit is partnering with the Baltimore Police Department and the Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice on the first Computer for Guns Initiative in the city, he said. Anyone who brings a functional gun to trade in to the police will receive a laptop outfitted with a new network card and hard drive. If all the laptops are given out, vouchers for laptops will be distributed.

In addition, computer workshops will be offered during the three-hour event. And anyone who trades in a gun for a computer will be able to attend IT training courses over the next few months at the arts center.

Computers for Guns takes place July 13 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. More information and the address here.

“This changes the whole argument of gun buy-backs,” said Lucas, 38. “Right here, we’re trading ideas. What we’re saying is this person is going to get a computer and they’re going to get classes for it, and they might be able to change their lives based on this one event.”

It’s the latest of recent trade-in programs in Baltimore aimed at reducing the number of guns on the street that could end in violence. Late last month, eight people were murdered during one weekend.

Advertisements - Continue reading below

“We just can’t sit on the sidelines and wait for the breeze to blow over,” Lucas said.

Through his nonprofit Digit All Systems, Lucas provides computer certification courses specifically for members of what he calls the city’s “untapped population”: predominantly black Baltimoreans from overlooked neighborhoods searching for the means to escape unemployment and climb out of poverty.

Read Technically Baltimore’s profile of Digit All Systems.

The computers for guns buy-back, and the accompanying computer training workshops and classes, he said, is the first step to “stem the tide of violence” with “new education.”

“All these tech companies talking about helping the city, that sounds really good, but at the end of the day, you really have to do something to get into the middle of the mix,” Lucas said. “If the resources can’t come to the people, then what are we really doing?”

Andrew Zaleski

Andrew Zaleski is a freelance journalist in Philadelphia and the former lead reporter for Baltimore. Before moving to Philadelphia in June 2014, he was a contributing writer to Baltimore City Paper and a Tech Check commentator for WYPR 88.1 FM, Baltimore city’s National Public Radio affiliate. He has written for The Atlantic, Outside, Richmond magazine, Washington City Paper, Baltimore magazine, Baltimore Style magazine, Next City,, The Atlantic Cities, and elsewhere.

Profile   /   @ajzaleski   /   Send an email
  • Lance Lucas

    Let be the change we want to see! Stand up and be heard..Courage is the first virtue,
    All others follow.

  • Joe Bell

    People, if you have guns you want to get rid of, make sure you aren’t giving away something that is worth a lot of money. That old gun your father/grandfather brought home from WW2 could be worth THOUSANDS while most gun buy-backs offer 50-150 dollars per gun. Take it to a gun store and get an accurate value before you decide to turn it in.

  • EricFiterman

    I love this idea. What a really creative way to make a positive impact on the community. Really well done, Lance.


Sign-up for regular updates from Baltimore.