Sick and tired of senseless violence, one Miami businessman is attempting to rid the streets of guns – one Rolls-Royce at a time.
Rashawn Welch, owner of the luxury rental business 305 Elite, is offering anyone an evening out on the town in one of his high-end automobiles – and boy does he have quite the garage – to anyone who turns in a gun.
“I’m just trying to get (guns) off the street, no matter what,” said Welch, who works in conjunction with the Miami Gardens Police Department.
Welch said he decided on the project after noticing an alarming trend among some of his clients.
“The same kids I was renting cars to were getting caught up (in crime),” he said.
It’s a life he knew all too well. The 48-year-old activist spent five years in prison, a circumstance that lends him a credibility and familiarity within the community.
It’s perhaps because of that street-cred that Welch thinks he’ll have greater success than traditional gun buy-backs.
“Why would I turn in a gun for a $200 gift card at Target when I could sell it on the street for $500? It doesn’t make sense.”
Welch, whose luxury rentals include Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Bentleys, hopes these brief encounters with extravagance will provide something to aspire to.
“When I pull up (in one of his cars) all the young men say ‘who are you and what do you do?’ ” he said.
“I can use the car to get their attention. And cars get their attention.”
At least they did for one local high schooler: The student called and said he had an AR-15 to trade in, so Welch is sending the young man – who wishes to remain anonymous – to his senior prom in style in a 2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost complete with his own chauffer. Welch said such a service would typically run about $1,000, and it was well worth it.
“If I have to do 100 cars for 100 guns then that’s what I’m going to do.”