206 Guns traded for grocery gift cards at Tucson gun buyback event

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

TUCSON, Ariz. -- On this day two years ago, a madman with a gun killed six people and injured many others in Tucson. It hasn't left this community's heart, and the approach on how to end of gun violence hasn't changed. That led City Councilman Steve Kozachik to pitch the idea of a gun buyback.

"We're on the two-year anniversary of the shooting that took place here," he said. "We had a lot of community, continuity, and unity after that event. This was intended to help us come together again in a serious way."

For more than three hours Tuesday morning, people lined up to trade in their old or no longer used guns for $50 gift cards to Safeway grocery stores. People traded in a total of 206 pistols and rifles, all to be destroyed.

"I heard every story that you could imagine," Kozachik said. "There was the guy who came today and said his son turned 10 and he wants this thing out of the house. Then there was a guy who said, 'My brother committed suicide six months ago and I wanted to bring closure to this story.'"

But the trade-in was only one option. Down the street, those against the gun buyback rallied to offer people more money for the same weapons. Pro-gun supporters say they bought more than 40 guns from people willing to sell. They argue that the trade-in is pointless, but those who planned the buyback say taking one more gun off the streets never hurt.

"This was about people who took it seriously and brought some closure to issues regarding gun safety in their own homes," Kozachik said.