"Cash for Guns"

August 3, 2009 8:18:17 PM PDT
The Fresno Police Department is planning a first of its kind gun trade-in to keep guns from ending up in the wrong hands and they're offering money as an incentive.        |   Watch Video Above for More Information on this Story   |

The "Cash for Guns" event is planned for Saturday. All day long, people will be able to drive into a parking lot at the Big Fresno Fair, drop off their guns, and drive away with gift cards worth up to $200. "We're not going to turn any away. We want as many guns off the street that we can possibly have," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

Similar programs across the country have proven to be popular. In Oakland last year, police blew through $82,000 in an hour. Then, police had to write IOU's. In order to get as many guns as possible, the trades are done with no questions asked. Under Fresno's program, a rifle is worth $50, a handgun is worth $100, and an assault rifle is worth $200, all paid in gift cards.

The program is dedicated to Andrew Mitchell. The Fresno boy was six years old when he was shot as he played outside, the day after Christmas in 2002. Police say he was hit by a stray bullet during a gang related shooting and he's been confined to a wheelchair ever since. Monday, his father was on hand to show his support for "Cash for Guns." "It will never erase all the guns that are there, but it may save one person from not being in the same situation that my son is in," said Bruce Mitchell.

Not all agree with the program's logic. Fresno gun store owner Sharon Mayfield called it a waste of money. "I don't know think its going to accomplish the purpose that they're wanting to accomplish, other than to get some of the guns out of our homes from people who actually could use them or have done nothing wrong," said Mayfield.

The chief says $15,000 in private money will be used for the program. Even though the trade-in is anonymous, ballistic testing will be done on all the guns, to determine if any had been used in a crime. If so, the gun could be used as an aid in an investigation. All the other weapons will be destroyed.

Cash for Guns
Saturday, Aug. 8
10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Fresno County Fairgrounds (Parking Lot at Chance and Lane)

Rifles $50
Handguns $100
Assault Rifles $200

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