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GROCERY'S GUN BUYBACK FAR EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS

When a grocery store chain offered to fund a gun buyback program, everybody was optimistic. Not this optimistic, though: The 12-day program netted 316 weapons.

"You never put a number on an expectation, but I had it in my mind that 150 to 200 guns was kind of what I'd like to have," said Mike Backman, Syracuse's director of public affairs. "Certainly, when we passed 200, then we passed 250, and then 300, we were all surprised."

By comparison, a program last year in New York City netted 659 weapons in four weeks. Under that buyback program, anyone who turned in an operable weapon at a police station house received amnesty and a $100 voucher redeemable at the district attorney's office.

In return for the guns in the Syracuse program, police handed out $15,800 in grocery vouchers donated by P&C Foods.

The program was so successful that police had to mail vouchers to a few people after running out of them, Backman said.

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