Posted: Oct 11, 2010 5:36 PM by Russell Jones
Updated: Oct 11, 2010 7:14 PM
Officials in Baton Rouge announced the start of a new program this morning aimed at getting guns off the streets of the city-parish.
Authorities will hold a "Gas for Guns" buyback on Oct. 23 at four churches around East Baton Rouge Parish. People who bring in qualifying weapons will receive gas cards from Circle K worth $50 to $200, without any questions about the donors' identities or where they got the guns from.
Officials said in a press release the goal of the voluntary buyback is to get rid of unsecured weapons that could wind up in the hands of criminals.
“Unsecured guns can pose a real danger to the entire community,” said Mayor-President Kip Holden. “Every year, crimes are committed with unsecured guns that have been stolen or used without the owners’ permission.”
At a recent press conference, Police Chief Jeff LeDuff said his officers are seizing around 100 illegal guns a month in the city. District Attorney Hillar Moore said today the more dangerous the weapon turned in, such as assault rifles and high-caliber handguns, the higher the amount people will receive.
“Getting illegal guns off the street is one step our community can take together to reduce violent crime in Baton Rouge," said Moore. "Programs like this have been highly successful in other cities, and we hope anyone with an unsecured weapon will take advantage of this opportunity to turn it in."
$40,000 in donations from Circle K Corporation and money seized in local drug cases will be used to pay for the gas cards. People will be limited to two firearms per person while the gas cards last. Shotguns and hunting rifles can also be turned in for disposal, but they will not be eligible for gas cards.
Qualifying guns can be exchanged at the following four churches on Oct. 23 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., or until they run out of gas certificates:
• Greater Beech Grove Baptist Church, 5352 Ford Street
• Mt. Zion First Baptist Church, 356 East Blvd.
• Greater Sixty Aid Baptist Church, 655 Gardere Lane
• Healing Place, Baton Rouge Dream Center, 4829 Winbourne Avenue
News 2's Michael Shingleton got answers on why some think the program is doomed to fail.