Elementary school offers toy-gun buyback

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School starts toy gun buyback program

About 75 students turned in toy guns as part of a safety day at Strobridge Elementary School in California.

They're not real guns, and no one got cash for turning them in.

The whole idea behind Strobridge Elementary School's toy-gun exchange program was safety education.

On Saturday, the school in Hayward, Calif., gave books, and a chance to win a bike, to kids who turned in their toy weapons.

Principal Charles Hill said he got the idea from a school photographer, Horace Gibson, who was concerned about gun violence among young people in nearby Oakland.

"As they get older it just becomes a natural thing. If they have a real gun in their hand they'll pull the trigger just as quick," Hill told KPIX 5.

Gibson told MSN News that about 75 students turned in toy guns as part of Strobridge Elementary Safety Day, which also featured demonstrations of law-enforcement fingerprinting and photographing, a fire department rig and tips from a police officer about gun and bike safety.

"The event went extremely well," Hill said on Monday.

A SCHOOL FIRST?

Gibson said he wasn't aware of any other school in the U.S. that has held such an exchange. He and Hill noted that people have been shot by police for wielding fake guns that look like the real thing.

In April, for example, an Oakland police officer shot and seriously wounded a burglary suspect brandishing what turned out to be a fake gun.

"The event was billed as a safety day. The toy-gun component was added in there because there's a major safety concern here in our urban schools. A lot of people don’t realize that playing with realistic-looking toy guns have such tragic consequences," Gibson said.

Hill told MSN News the turned-in toy guns will be destroyed and thrown away.

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