"Gas for Guns" considered success - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

"Gas for Guns" considered success

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The City of Memphis' gun take-back program "Gas for Guns" was a huge success. The City of Memphis' gun take-back program "Gas for Guns" was a huge success.
Police Director Toney Armstrong stated 87% of Memphis homicides occur with a gun. Police Director Toney Armstrong stated 87% of Memphis homicides occur with a gun.
The "Gas for Guns" event resulted in the surrender of nearly 500 firearms. The "Gas for Guns" event resulted in the surrender of nearly 500 firearms.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) – Memphians turned in their guns for Gas and Grizzlies tickets today.

A City of Memphis' gun take-back program was a huge success today, and the mayor revealed his plan to crack down on gun violations.

Mike Anderson is one of dozens of Memphians who lined up Saturday to turn in guns for Mapco gas cards and Grizzlies tickets.

"I've had the guns for years," said Anderson.  "I was always worried someone would break in and steal them," he added.

Police Director Toney Armstrong said the effort was not in vain.

"Eighty-seven percent of our homicides occur with a gun, 64% of our aggravated assaults occur with a gun," Armstrong stated.

Less than a month ago, 12-year-old Deanne Thompson found a gun in her parents' room and accidentally shot herself to death.

"It just stands to reason that if we could put together some type of campaign to try to get guns off the streets, that maybe we could save a life," said Armstrong.

They took in handguns and shotguns - some sawed off.

Mayor AC Wharton says the laws are too weak.

"The key is to just create an awareness," said Wharton.  "You bail out quickly for $250, $1,000.  You're not going to jail.  I'll tell you that right now.  We've got to do more," he added.

He revealed he's working with Director Armstrong and the D.A. on a cutting-edge plan to deter gun violence to get tough on gun crimes without passing new laws.

"I have been talking with General Weirich and Director Armstrong about assigning one of our city attorneys to appear in every courtroom where someone is arrested on a gun charge to seek higher bail," Wharton explained.

And with today's turnout, city leaders say their message on guns hit the target.

"Put them in responsible hands to keep them from falling into irresponsible hands," said Armstrong.

The mayor did not say when the plan would be implemented.

Today's Gas for Guns event resulted in the surrender of right at 500 firearms.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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