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LONG BEACH : Guns Outnumber Food Coupons on Swap Day

May 19, 1994|EMILY ADAMS

About 50 people who showed up last weekend to turn their firearms into bread were turned away.

The city had only 50 food certificates, each worth $100, to exchange for guns Saturday morning in its first groceries-for-guns exchange, and the supply was quickly exhausted. The guns were taken by police and will be destroyed.

In one case, Mayor Ernie Kell, who organized the exchange, gave $100 from his own wallet to a woman who wanted to turn in her gun at the Gospel Memorial Church of God in Christ.

The exchange attracted just one sponsor, Ralphs Grocery Co., which donated 50 food certificates.

Kell has promised to start lobbying for new donors and another food-for-guns swap. Originally, he had hoped every major grocery store in the city would participate, giving a total of $40,000 in grocery certificates.

Some supermarket officials said they were concerned about appearing to favor one program over another, said Tom Poe, spokesman for the mayor.

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