Fresno's First Cash for Guns

August 8, 2009 6:56:52 PM PDT
That type of gun violence is exactly what the police are hoping today's cash for guns event can stop. The city traded gift cards for guns, and even though the event was supposed to last all day, they burned through all the gift cards in less than three hours. Action News reporter John-Thomas Kobos shows us the program that could stop some crimes and solve others.Within 3 hours police collected 447 weapons. Even though the program was supposed to last until 8 tonight police are already planning for 'Cash for Guns 2.'

Rugers, lugers, rifles and even a Tommy gun. Some may be used for sport but some of these weapons could be used to commit crimes. Fresno police collected this weapons cache during the department's first 'Cash for Guns' event.

"These are firearms that are being used on the streets of Fresno to do drive by shootings. They're in the hands of the wrong people," said Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

A wide range of people showed up Saturday morning, all guaranteed amnesty.

Shirley Edwards of Auberry said: "It doesn't matter whether you're getting gang bangers in here or not, you're getting guns off the street."

"We're about to move to the old folks home so I don't think they'd want them there," laughed Irene Gruner.

Wanda Brown said: "When this came up it was like $100 at school time for Target!"

Police handed out gift credit cards to target. The dollar value was determined by the type of weapon, gun or rifle turned over. Alan Ostergaard received 8, $50 cards.

"I think I may get a lap top computer?It's not a bad trade for some old unsafe guns," he said.

Each gun will be inspected, logged and then destroyed. Some will even undergo ballistics testing.

"Again the guns were given to us anonymously so we just want to run some tests and see if they were involved in prior crimes," said Lt. Tony Bennink.

"Ma'am we've ran out of gift cards?" said one officer to a driver.

Only two hours and 45 minutes into the event, the gift cards ran out. Some people like Mike Peterson just wanted to get rid of their guns.

"It would be ok with me if I just turn them in," said Peterson. The officer then said, "Ok we'll take them from you. Where are they? In the back?"

For those who did not cash in on their weapons a pass was handed out. That means next time this event is held they can advance to the front of the line. Police handed out $35,000 worth of gift cards.

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