San Diegans can exchange guns for gift cards Friday

Program established by UAAMAC

SAN DIEGO - San Diegans will have the opportunity to get weapons off the streets as part of a gun exchange program set for Friday.

In the past four years, 850 guns have been taken off San Diego streets, thanks to an initiative by the United African American Ministerial Action Council (UAAMAC).

"It originated in 2008 when Monique [Palmer] and Michael [Taylor], two teenagers [from] over here in Lincoln [Park] were viciously gunned down," said Robert Sanders of UAAMAC.

Palmer and Taylor were walking home in Valencia Park when they were shot and killed near a park.

UAAMAC's gun exchange program was born out of a response to violence in their neighborhood.

On Friday, UAAMAC will be handing out gift cards for guns, and in the wake of the mass shooting in Connecticut, the group believes it could collect more guns than ever before.

"With the trauma that we've experienced now, it puts people in a more mind of awareness," said UAAMAC board member Gerald Johnson.

On Sunday, a cash-for-guns program in Oakland enticed people to turn in more than 600 guns.

In San Diego, UAAMAC said residents can turn in guns, no questions asked.

UAAMAC will be accepting guns at 415 Euclid Avenue from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 21. The group said $50 will be given for shotguns and rifles, and a $100 gift card will be given in exchange for handguns and assault weapons. There is a limit of one gift card per vehicle and the gift cards can be redeemed at area grocery stores. Anyone participating should place the unloaded firearms in the trunk of their cars. A uniformed police officer will give instructions at the location. All weapons collected will be destroyed.

"This is something that we can do as a community while they are in the White House going through the red tape," said Johnson.

Some of the donations for this program came from private citizens who support gun control.

UAAMAC is still accepting donations.


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