Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Guns for gas: Firearm owners exchange weapons for gas cards during buy-back event

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BATON ROUGE - Police say 45 guns were turned in during a gun buy-back event Saturday. That's 11 more than the total collected last year.

"It's one less gun [that] will get in the wrong hands," gun owner LT said.

Of those firearms, police say 16 were large, like rifles or shotguns, and 29 were smaller handguns. Participants at the event were given a gas card in exchange, with the amount depending on the type of gun turned in.

One man said he took a rifle away from his teenage son to bring to the event.

"I came bringing a gun because I took that from my 18-year-old son, he didn't need it. I don't carry guns, I don't have any reason to carry a gun," one attendee said. "At the end of the day, that's just something that will get him in trouble. That's what is wrong with the youth nowadays: They have not enough people taking initiative to help these young kids out. They say they have no one to help them, but I am your daddy."

It's all in an effort to make the city-parish more safe. Officials say in past years' events, they have received guns that were reported stolen.

"They're going to run that. Inspectors will run the gun information. If the gun comes up stolen, the owner will be contacted — all other guns will be destroyed," Aisha Laburgess, the executive director of Truce, said.

While some question the effectiveness of events like this, officials say each gun turned in is one less gun on the streets.

"I think they are really effective. If we are able to remove at least one gun from the community, then we count that as a success," Laburgess said.

"It's better for me to take it than you get caught out here on the streets with it, then someone hurts you with it, or you hurt somebody else," an event attendee said.

According to the coroner's website, there have been 91 homicides just this year.


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