'Guns for gift cards' event held in Encanto

SAN DIEGO - People with unwanted firearms have a chance Saturday to convert the weapons into groceries or – for those with a yen for sidewalk-surfing – skateboards.

During the morning "gun exchange" at Bryco Business Park in Encanto, pistols, rifles and shotguns will fetch $100 worth of credit each, while assault weapons will bring $200, according to the United African American Ministerial Action Council, which is sponsoring the event along with law enforcement officials.

A line of cars was backed up around the block for hours. In that line was Tim Minor, who dropped off a gun he had lying around.

"I'm not the guy with a gun going around holding up whiskey stores," he told 10News. "I'm the guy who gets guns stolen from."

San Diego Police Chief Shelly Zimmerman says this year alone, more than 150 weapons have been stolen in burglaries and to prevent that, events like the gun exchange are key.

"It's all about the unwanted unsecured guns," she said. "People don't know what to do with them."

Among the firearms dropped off included a machine gun and a double barrel sawed-off shotgun. 10News spoke with Don Frye, who owned the machine gun. He got it when it was still legal to own one. 

"I have no use for it," he told 10News. "If somebody breaks into your house or something … I figured it was time to part with it."

Participants, who are asked to secure their weapons in their car trunks prior to arrival, may elect to receive supermarket gift cards or skateboards valued at $200 each.

Even though this was a no questions asked exchange, 10News was told officers will still check to see if the weapons collected are stolen or if they come up linked to any crimes.

All collected weapons will be destroyed, organizers said.

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