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Md. Residents Exchange Gift Cards For Guns

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Collecting guns in exchange for goods. That’s what a partnership of neighborhood organizations and lawmakers set out to accomplish Saturday.

As Tim Williams reports, the event is heightened by the events of this week.

The line stretched down the street as hundreds of guns were brought to a Northeast Baltimore church, collected by residents and turned in to police.

“This is an opportunity to get rid of it and I’m grateful for that,” said Edith Bland, who turned in a gun.

This “goods for guns” collection is a collaborative effort. Members of Baltimore’s City Council, neighborhood groups, ShopRite Markets and city police all joined forces.

“Every gun we get off the street saves somebody’s life,” said Baltimore City Council President Jack Young.

“I see a number of individuals from within the neighborhood. It gives us pause to hope,” said Mark Washington, Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello Community Group.

“Nothing good happens when you have a gun in the house and everything good happens when you’ve got food in the pantry,” said Howard Klein, ShopRite.

“It’s all about safety on the streets. It’s all about gun violence and reducing that,” said Major Darryl De Sousa.

The goal: to curb violence in the community by getting unwanted guns into safe hands.

“I would hate for someone to break into my house and these get into their hands,” said Ernest Coppage.

Another incentive: a $100 gift card for each gun turned in.

To make this effort even more desirable for those turning in the firearms, all guns collected are turned in and disposed of, no questions asked.

“I really, really don’t need it and I don’t want it around anymore. And then after what happened yesterday, I don’t want to look at a gun,” Bland said.

Because of turnout, organizers had to replenish the amount of gift cards; 460 guns were collected.

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