'Goods for Guns' makes history in Camden

CAMDEN - December 28, 2011

The city is on track for another year of way too many homicides. Most of the 49 murders involved firearms.

For the first time in 20 years, the city held a 'Goods for Guns' initiative today.

At five locations around Camden, guns were turned in, in exchange for a $100 Pathmark gift card and there were no questions asked.

"I think that's the toughest barrier to overcome, but we'll continue pushing the program and continue our outreach," Mayor Dana Redd said.

The gift cards residents received were bought with money raised by local businesses and from the county prosecutor's forfeiture fund.

Camden resident Roosevelt Pollock turned in two handguns.

"I'm not a real gun person. I had them and I want to get rid of them, before somebody might break into the house, take them and use them for the wrong purpose," Pollock said.

Renee Bryant brought in a shotgun her father used to use for hunting. He died recently and she wanted it out of the house.

"I don't like guns, scared of them," Bryant said.

At the end of the day, 57 firearms were turned in; there were 35 handguns and 22 rifles and shotguns.

Unfortunately, none of the assault type weapons often used in the carnage on the streets found their way into the pile.

Former Philadelphia cop Walter Lewis, a Camden church elder, also turned in a shotgun.

"I have teenaged kids. Even though I have great kids, kids can be curious, so I just wanted to get it out of the house," Lewis said.

The more guns turned in the less chance they are ever involved in a crime.

The mayor hopes to hold more of these 'Goods for Guns' in 2012.

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