Event lets patrons trade guns for gas

2011-06-06T04:00:00Z 2011-06-06T04:09:18Z Event lets patrons trade guns for gasBy JEFF REINITZ, jeff.reinitz@wcfcourier.com Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

WATERLOO, Iowa --- Drivers can get more bang for their buck by turning in unwanted firearms during a local gas station's Gas For Guns event Saturday.

Jim Lind, who operates Jim Lind Shell on Ridgeway Ave., got the idea after reading about a similar promotion in a trade magazine.

"I thought it was a good thing to do for our community, and everybody needs gas," Lind said.

Here's how it works: Starting at 10 a.m. residents bring their weapons to the parking lot south of Waterloo Fire Station No. 1 at the corner of Mulberry and East Third streets.

Officers with the Waterloo Police Department will take the gun and check it over. Functioning handguns are good for a $150 gift card to Jim Lind Shell. A functioning rifle or shotgun nets a $100 card.

Muzzle loaders, air guns and ammunition will also be accepted, but without the gift card trade.

All exchanges are on a "no questions asked" basis.

Lind put up $5,000 for the event, and the deal runs until 2 p.m. or until the gift cards run out.

Lind envisions the project taking unwanted firearms that are part of estates before they fall into the wrong hands.

"We're hoping people who found a gun, aren't familiar with guns --- don't want it --- are going to bring them in," said Sgt. Rob Camarata with the Waterloo Police Department.

For safety reasons, police ask residents who drive in to have weapons in a trunk or, in the case of pickups, sealed in a container. They should open the trunk in an officer's presence and allow the officer to remove the gun and ammunition.

People arriving on foot should bring guns in sealed containers.

In 2001, the Waterloo Police Department took part in a gun buyback sponsored by a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant. Waterloo police had $5,000 for the program and offered $50 per weapon. It ran out of money after about half an hour and netted 100 guns.

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