Possibly prompted by the faltering economy, sheriff’s officials collected a record number of guns this this year — about 1,000 — in the annual “Gifts for Guns” program in Compton. While in past years, most participants asked for Best Buy gift certificated in exchange for their weapons, this year grocery gift cards are the most popular. Participants received a $100 gift card for each working gun turned in, and a $200 card for every assault weapon. Here’s the story from the Associated Press:
COMPTON — A program to exchange guns for gifts brought in a record number of
weapons this year as residents hit hard by the economy look under the bed and in closets to find items to trade for groceries.
The annual Gifts for Guns program ended Sunday in Compton, a working class city south of Los Angeles that has long struggled with gun and gang violence. In a program similar to
ones in New York and San Francisco, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department allows residents to anonymously relinquish firearms in return for $100 gift cards for Ralphs supermarkets, Target department stores or Best Buy electronics stores.
Turning in assault rifles yields double that amount.
In years past, Target and Best Buy were the cards of choice, with residents wanting presents for the holidays.
This year, most asked for the supermarket cards, said sheriff’s Sgt. Byron Woods.
“People just don’t have the money to buy the food these days,” he said.
Deputies were counting the weapons collected and expected to gather about 1,000. Authorities said 590 guns and two hand grenades were handed in during the last weekend in November, more than the total collected in any year and eclipsing last year’s 387 guns.