Gun Owners Trade Guns For Holiday Gift Cards

4th Annual 'Gifts for Guns' Held At UAAMAC Headquaters

Gun owners in southeast San Diego took the opportunity Monday to trade in their firearms for holiday gift cards -- no questions asked.

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Cars lined up early Monday morning for the fourth annual "Gifts for Guns" exchange program sponsored by the nonprofit United African American Ministerial Action Council.

The event began at 8 a.m. at UAAMAC headquarters at 4981 Market St. in Lincoln Park and ended with more than 250 guns collected by San Diego police. Organizers ran out of gift cards after taking in 255 guns by 11:30 a.m.

Rev. Gerald Brown from UAAMAC said a record total 310 guns were collected. He said his organization ran out of money but people turned their guns in anyway. Last year, the organization collected about 169 guns.

The council formed in 1994 to fight poverty, promote education and foster a sense of community, according to its website.

The gun exchange program was created to help curb violence and is supported by the San Diego District Attorney's Office. Since the creation of the program, hundreds of guns have been taken off the streets, organizers said.

"It's a great way to get dangerous weapons off our streets," said SDPD Chief William Lansdowne.

Participants who exchange their handguns or standard rifles received a $100 gift card, while $200 cards were given to those who turned in assault rifles with detachable magazines.

Organizers say the collected guns will be melted down and used for scrap metal.

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