NEW YORK -- Abraham & Straus, Jordan Marsh and Filene's are among the stores giving out gift certificates in exchange for guns in Connecticut's first "guns for goods" program.
Under the program, which ends Feb. 28, people can turn in their guns at police stations where they fill out exchange forms and select from stores offering $25 gift certificates.
Operable guns are worth $100 in gift certificates; nonoperable guns, $50, and assault weapons, $500.
In addition to major department stores, discounters and off-pricers including Caldor; Marshalls; Sears, Roebuck, and Bradlees are participating.
Gun swap programs have started to proliferate since last December, when Fernando Mateo, a carpet dealer in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, started the idea. He offered $100 vouchers on guns turned in at the local police precinct. Toys "R" Us, Footlocker and other businesses joined the program.
The Connecticut version is the result of a combined effort between Richard Blumenthal, the state's attorney general, the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association and the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association.
According to Blumenthal, more than 100 weapons were exchanged across Connecticut last Tuesday, the first day of the program. Blumenthal urged people not to bring guns to the stores. They should be brought to police stations, in closed boxes or containers, and he suggested people call police stations before arriving.
"The retailers and other businesses that have donated to this effort, which is being done without cost to taxpayers, are doing a tremendous public service," Blumenthal said.
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