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Gun Buyback Program Teams with Meijer

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Lansing's Gun for Groceries buyback has partnered with Meijer to help reduce gun violence.

The event will take place Saturday, August. 18 in the parking lot of the Tabernacle of David Worship Center located at 2645 W. Holmes Rd. in Lansing from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The program provides a $100 Meijer gift card for each operational firearm and an extra $50 gift card on top of that for assault weapons. So far, city officials say they've raised almost $9,000, all of it from private donations.

"Getting any number of guns off the streets of our city will help make Lansing safer," said Mayor Virg Bernero. "Even guns that are stored away in a closet or attic can be stolen and end up in the hands of a criminal or be misused at home, so I want to strongly encourage our citizens to take advantage of this program."

Mayor Bernero is confident the program will work, but admits it will have its challenges. "How will we measure it? It'll be the tragedy that never occurs. It'll be the accidental shooting that doesn't happen, so it'll be very difficult to measure," he said.

Firearms will be accepted "no questions asked" to prevent fear of being charged with illegal possession.

"Just come, we're not checking identification, we're not even going to ask you your name," said Chief Teresa Szymanski, with Lansing Police.

Handguns and long guns will be accepted. All handguns turned in at the collection point must be enclosed in a clear plastic container, unloaded, and locked in the trunk of a vehicle. Long guns must be unloaded, in a sealed case and transported legally. Only firearms determined by LPD personnel to be in working order will be accepted. Licensed gun dealers as well as active duty and retired police officers are excluded from participating in the program.  BB guns, pellet guns and toy guns will also be collected, but are not eligle for a gift card.

"The Guns for Groceries program is a positive, proactive effort to reduce crime in Lansing by getting guns off the street," said Chief Szymanski. "If just one of the guns turned in prevents a crime or saves a child from an accidental shooting, then the program will be a success."

But not everyone seems to agree.

"I appreciate their effort, but I think it's not going to be an effective way of doing so," said Patricia Wheaton, owner of Michigan Pro Firearms, LLC.

All firearms accepted by the program will be secured by the LPD Quartermaster and destroyed in accord with the standard departmental protocol.

Licenced gun dealers and police officers, active or retired, are excluded from participating in the program.


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