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[whitespace] Police Chiefs, Sharks Offer Gifts in Exchange for Guns

San Jose--The Santa Clara County Police Chiefs Association, together with the San Jose Sharks, are hoping to make this holiday season a little safer by encouraging residents to dispose of their guns in exchange for a gift.

Residents can bring their unwanted, unloaded guns to the San Jose Arena Dec. 5 between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. as part of the first "Sharks Gifts for Guns" effort.

"The purpose of the program is to get these weapons off the street," said Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Chief Larry Todd, who is representing the SCCPCA in putting the program together.

Additional sponsors are Target stores, Pepsi, Ticketmaster, Imperial Toys and Bass Tickets

According to Todd, firearms will be accepted, with no questions asked. BB and pellet guns are not being accepted.

"You give us the guns, we give you the gifts," Todd said.

The anonymous program will have officers from all police agencies in the county accepting the guns in Parking Lot A, behind the San Jose Arena, without taking names, fingerprints or any other information. Those turning in guns will then receive a gift that could range from Sharks tickets to gift certificates or other items. Exchange items are on a first come, first served basis.

Many times residents will have a gun that they want to get rid of, and the program is a chance to do so safely, Todd said.

Statistics show that firearms are abundant in Santa Clara County, with an average of one in every five homes.

Guns will later be checked to make sure they are not stolen before being destroyed.

Todd said that while programs similar to this can be found across the county, Santa Clara County's is unique because a major sports team is sponsoring the gun swap.
Michelle Alaimo

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Web extra to the December 3-9, 1998 issue of Metro.

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