Musician exchanges guns for trumpets in effort to keep streets safe

Justin Chan

A New Orleans musician is trading trumpets in exchange for guns, following the murder of a 9-year-old boy, WVUE reports.

On July 13, Shamarr Allen, a trumpeter from the Lower Ninth Ward, put out an open call on his Instagram, asking those in New Orleans to swap their guns out for the musical instrument.

“To all the youth in New Orleans, bring me a gun and I’ll give you a trumpet no questions asked,” he wrote. “I’m doing this until I run out of trumpets.”

Allen’s announcement comes in the wake of the death of Devante Bryant, who was killed in a triple shooting that injured two other teenagers that same day. Family members described the 9-year-old as someone who loved to play sports and use TikTok.

“I have a 9-year-old son and I grew up in that environment, so I understand what those kids are going through,” Allen told the station. “He got along with everybody.”

Allen said that he has since gotten responses from five children, one of whom is a little girl.

“For me, it was important that if they gave up the gun, they didn’t get asked a million questions and interrogated which makes it easier to get the guns from them,” he explained.

Working in conjunction with New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Shaun Ferguson, the trumpeter has been meeting with those interested in making an exchange in a safe place. He has also launched a GoFundMe to purchase more trumpets.

“As a child, and adolescent who grew up in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, I have experienced and engaged in things that individuals at that age should not have to endure,” he wrote on the campaign’s page. “What saved me and redirected my path was a trumpet, the music, and culture of the city that it connected me with.”

Allen told WVUE that he ultimately just wants to inspire people to give back to — and protect — their community.

“If everybody does their part and not turn their back or not say, ‘Oh, they’re just criminals, leave them over there,’ then you can actually help some people,” he said.

If you enjoyed this story, you might want to read about the Philadelphia man who wants inner-city kids to shoot basketball, not guns.

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