By Lee Roberts
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 22, 2012) – The city has 91 more reasons to be thankful today since the police garnered that number of weapons Nov. 17 during its “Gift Cards for Guns” event at Tusculum Hills Baptist Church in south Nashville.
Don Aaron, Public Affairs manager for Metro Nashville Police Department, said Dollar General donated $25 gift cards to citizens who willingly turned in their unwanted firearms. He said more than 300 guns have been collected during the last three events, each sponsored by Kroger, MAAPCO and Dollar General.
Aaron said the community is buying into the “Gift Cards for Guns” initiative. Although some of the firearms are in poor condition, some are pristine and most all are lethal. The important thing about this event is it provides an avenue for citizens to turn in their unwanted weapons or those that may not be serving a purpose in the home, he said.
“They want to ensure nothing bad happens with them,” Aaron stressed.
The Tennessean reported Nov. 18 that the police have a “no-questions-asked policy” about guns that are turned in during the “Gift Cards for Guns” events, although officers store them and also return weapons to gun owners if they have reported them stolen.
Online comments to the Tennessean report suggest that citizens question whether this program will put any dent into local crime rates, whether the guns are even worth buying back, and if the program encourages citizens to give up their personal protection.
“This seems like a good way to get rid of a gun that was used in a crime since no questions are asked and no names taken,” commented Chris Swimm, a mail clerk at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital at Fort Campbell, Ky. “Good job police for providing this valuable service for criminals.”
Aaron said despite the opposing points of view, businesses, clergy and Crime Stoppers in the area are supportive of the “Gift Cards for Guns” initiatives, and the police is convinced that the collection of these weapons are positive steps toward making communities safer.
In a police news release Nov. 17, Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson said, “As a result of today’s third Gift Cards for Guns initiative since last December, a total of 337 firearms are now off the streets and will not find their way back into neighborhoods where they might have fallen into the hands of a criminal or even a child. Nashville is safer because of our partnership with outstanding businesses like Dollar General, ministers throughout the community and Crime Stoppers.”
A Dollar General executive also expressed the company’s support of the collection of weapons in a Metro Nashville Police news release leading up to the event.
“Dollar General is pleased to partner with the Metro Police department and Crime Stoppers for this Gift Cards for Guns initiative.” said Jeff Owen, senior vice-president of Store Operations. “Through our mission of serving others, we strive to make a difference in the communities we call home through programs such as this initiative.”