Cash-Strapped Iowans Trade Guns for Gas

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High gasoline prices and a slowdown in hiring have many consumers tightening their purse strings. This summer Americans are facing tough decisions on where and how to spend their money.

While gas prices eased in May, they're still higher than last year.  The pain at the pump has one Iowa police station cashing in with an event called "Gas for Guns."

More than 100 Iowans stood in line for hours Saturday to surrender their firearms to the Waterloo Police Department. In return, they received a gas gift card.

Many of these gun owners were not criminals. They are just cash-strapped Americans looking for some help at the gas pump.

Gas for Guns paid $100 for functioning rifles and shotguns and $150 for each handgun.

"With the economy being the way it is, $150 for a gun you're not using is a pretty good deal," New Hampton resident Michelle Nystel said.

Residents were allowed to exchange up to two firearms - no questions asked.
    
"We're going to check all the serial numbers, make sure they aren't stolen. If they are, we will try to locate the owner," Waterloo Police Sgt. Rob C. Camarata said.
    
Organizers expected the event to last four hours. But in a matter of 45 minutes, $5,000 worth of gift cards were already handed out.

"I didn't think we'd have that big of a turn out. But when we showed up today, I was pleasantly surprised," Camarata said.
       
Waterloo police officials said they plan to run forensic tests on some of the weapons. The others will be destroyed.

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Charlene  Aaron

Charlene Aaron

CBN News Reporter

Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter and helps anchor for the CBN News Channel.  Follow her on Twitter @CharNews and "like" her at Facebook.com/CharleneIsraelCBNNews.