Gun Owners Give up Firearms for Gifts

Exchange aims to remove guns from violent area

An unusual gift exchange aims to take guns off violent streets in San Diego – and perhaps give those gun owners some extra cash for Christmas shopping.

The “Gifts for Guns” program calls on gun owners to give up their firearms in exchange for gift cards of up to $200, depending on the firearm. The United African American Ministerial Action Council ran the program Monday morning and afternoon with help from the San Diego Police Department.

By the afternoon, the UAAMAC had collected 250, said Tony McElroy, captain and commanding officer of southeast division of police department

So many people turned in their guns that the organization ran out of gift cards, McElroy said.

Organizers place emphasis on the rule that no questions will be asked of the gun owners who turn in their firearms. They say many guns used in violence are stolen, so gun owners will not be required to turn themselves in. If that’s the case, police will try to track down the owner.

The most important aspect of the exchange is to remove the guns that may be used in violence, organizers said.

In the past three years, the exchange collected a total of 540 guns.

The guns are turned over to the SDPD. Officers will impound and destroy the guns, according to Lt. Andra Brown with the SDPD.

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