Bill aims to expand gun buyback program

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – All of Louisiana's parishes and municipalities would be able to create gun buyback programs that allow people to exchange weapons for gift certificates or other compensation, under a proposal that won approval from the House municipal committee Thursday.

New Orleans is the only city in Louisiana authorized to hold buyback programs, though Baton Rouge has done one for several years.

The bill (House Bill 272) by Alfred Williams, D-Baton Rouge, would authorize the program in Baton Rouge – and in any parish or municipality that wants to hold something similar in a no-questions-asked effort to get guns off the street.

Baton Rouge has participated in a gun buyback program since 2010 called “Gas for Guns,” in which people turn over weapons in exchange for gas cards ranging from $50 to $300 from Circle K.

Mark Dumaine, chief of administration for the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney's Office, said the Baton Rouge program has recovered 557 guns, nine of which were stolen. He supported the bill, which moves next to the full House for debate.

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