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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gift cards swapped for guns in Delaware

A gun buy back program held at two Baptist churches in New Castle, Del., was so successful that $100,000 in Visa Inc.-branded, open-loop gift cards exchanged for the guns were gone before the day was out. Vouchers issued in lieu of gift cards were given to program participants for the rest of that day. The office of Delaware Gov. Jack A. Markell authorized the allocation of additional funds to purchase more gift cards to be swapped for the vouchers on Jan. 7, 2012.

At the Canaan Baptist Church and Ezion Fair Baptist Church on Dec. 17, 2011, participants received $150 for handguns, $100 for shotguns and rifles, and $200 for assault weapons. About 2,000 guns were reportedly collected and earmarked for destruction.

Kimberly H. Chandler, Director of Community Relations at the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security, said open-loop, network-branded cards issued by PNC Bank were chosen over closed-loop, chain store gift cards to give participants as much flexibility as possible in where they could use the cards.

The gun buy back program, administered by the DSHS, is the result of passage in July 2011 of an amendment to Delaware's gun safety code. SB 25 allowed for funds from Delaware's Community Transportation Fund to be directed to the program. Chandler said the additional program funding would likely come from the contractual services arm of Delaware's Office of Management and Budget. end of article

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