965 guns and two hand grenades exchanged for retail giftcards at the annual ‘Gifts for Guns’ program in Compton, CA over the past two weekends.

The following is an excerpt from a Dec 8, 2008 article by By THOMAS WATKINS, Associated Press Writer:

“LOS ANGELES – 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.

Authorities said Sunday that a record 965 firearms and two hand grenades were handed in during the two weekends the program was in operation. That’s more than in any other year and easily eclipses last year’s total of 387 guns collected over both weekends….”

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