Tauruses for tilapia? Glocks for grapes? AKs for apricots?
Local police departments, in conjunction with the grassroots organization Bridging our Communities, will hold a gun buyback program Sept. 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at New Bethel AME Church in Willow Grove.
All guns turned in will be exchanged for Giant Food Stores gift cards. The rate? $75 gift cards for handguns and rifles and $125 gift cards for assault rifles.
All guns will be turned in anonymously, as in no identification required and “no questions asked.” The guns should be turned in unloaded. No toy or pellet guns will be accepted.
Police personnel from the Abington, Upper Moreland and Upper Dublin departments will be on hand to accept the guns, and the police officers will determine whether a gun gets a $75 or $125 gift card.
Abington Police Deputy Chief John Livingood said his department has never taken part in a gun buy-back program. He added that the community group Bridging Our Communities — which formed following a July murder in North Hills — held a number of meetings and asked police if it was possible to hold such a program.
Livingood said he then got in touch with officials from Giant; he said the Giant people were very receptive to the idea.
This is Giant’s first gun buy-back program as well.
“In early August we were contacted by the Abington Township Police Department and they, of course, were looking for ways to reduce violence in the community and one idea was a gun buy-back,” Giant Foods spokesman Chris Brand said. “They asked us if we could assist and we wholeheartedly agreed. This is a way to build a healthier community, and we agreed to provide the gift cards.”
Brand said Giant allotted $4,000 worth of gift cards to the program — which could "buy" 53 guns. But, it’s not just illegal guns that the program is targeting.
“Here’s the thing. A lot of times people have guns that they don’t know what to do with. Maybe they’ve inherited them, or just don’t use them, but there is a chance that they could get onto the streets,” Livingood said.
And, with the “no-questions asked” approach, Livingood said there is a chance that the program will destroy a gun that may have been used in a crime.
No media are allowed at the event to protect the identity of those looking to turn in a gun. And if anyone has a gun that he or she wants to turn in, but is afraid to bring it in safely, New Bethel AME Church will make arrangements to pick it up.
The church is located at 1646 Prospect Avenue, Willow Grove. Its phone number is 215-659-5184.