When Americans start turning in their weapons for food yes, times are tough. AP:
The annual Gifts for Guns program ended Sunday in Compton, a working class city south of Los Angeles that has long struggled with gun and gang violence. In a program similar to ones in New York and San Francisco, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department allows residents to anonymously relinquish firearms in return for $100 gift cards for Ralphs supermarkets, Target department stores or Best Buy electronics stores.
Turning in assault rifles yields double that amount.
In years past, Target and Best Buy were the cards of choice, with residents wanting presents for the holidays.
This year, most asked for the supermarket cards, said sheriff’s Sgt. Byron Woods.
“People just don’t have the money to buy the food these days,” he said.
Authorities said Sunday that a record 965 firearms and two hand grenades were handed in during the two weekends the program was in operation. That’s more than in any other year and easily eclipses last year’s total of 387 guns collected over both weekends.
Compton’s violent history has been chronicled in such gangsta rap albums as N.W.A.’s “Straight Outta Compton.” But Woods said most of the residents who turned in weapons were “family people.”
“One guy said he had just got laid off from his job,” Woods said. “He turned in five guns and said it would really help him to put food on the family’s table.”