Guns for gift cards


MICHIGAN CITY, Mich. -- Fire arms piled into big plastic tubs at the Michigan City Police Department on Friday.

These guns were not seized or part of any bust, all 40 weapons were traded in as part of the gun campaign, ‘Get More Bucks for Your Bang.’

The deal was, a gun in exchange for a fifty dollar gift certificate to Wal-Mart.

Now, this may not sound like a fair trade, many people lost money. Most if not all of the guns turned in are worth much more than fifty bucks, but sill people said it was a good deal.

“This gun is of no use to me and I don’t want it laying around to get in the wrong hands,” Tom Rasiuk as he stared down at old handgun.

Rasiuk found the fire arm in his father’s stuff; he brought it in to make sure no one else ever came across the gun again.

“If anybody found this they could try to use it, it could be used in a robbery, it’s no good,” he said.

But others might argue with him about that, this gun is a collector’s item, not because it’s make or model, not even because it about  “This gun has history with Al Capone, directly tied to him.”

Rasiuk said his dad was given the gun to use for protection, as a teenager his father delivered newspapers in Chicago, one of his clients was Al Capone.  

“If a collector saw these he’d probably say oh yes,” Sgt. Chris Yagelski said most of the guns that come in to the Michigan City Police Department are passed down from generation to generation, but sometimes the inheritor does not always want the fire arm, even if it is a lot of money.

“Every gun is dangerous, if it gets in the wrong hands, they’re all dangerous weapons. Every one of the guns on this table could be fired,” Yagelski said.

With grandkids in the house and in fear of thieves, Rasiuk said he wanted the gun gone, but didn’t want to take it to a gun or pawn shop where it could just be sold again.

“I wouldn’t want the wrong person to get a hold of it and use it,” Rasiuk said.

By giving the gun to police, people can get rid of deadly weapons with a clear conscience.  “People don’t want that feeling, they want the feeling this gun with never be used again,” Yagelski said.

With a driver’s license officers take all of the guns brought in, the shotguns are melted down, destroyed and the hand guns are put into a glass case in the lobby of the department.

Yagelski said, “It will never be put in the hands of anyone, it will always be entombed here.” Behind an inch and a half of bullet proof glass the guns will stay.

The Michigan City Police Department has run this campaign for the last five years; since it began officers have collected about four-hundred guns.

So far, none of the guns have been traced to any crimes, but Yagelski said getting any guns of the street makes the city safer. Plus, it also gives people a way to get a little extra money before the holidays. With fifty-dollars at Wal-Mart Rasiuk said, “I’ll be Christmas shopping for the grandkids, of course.”

The deal continues on Saturday until 2 p.m. or until the gift cards run out. The department is down to five-hundred dollars and it’s all first come, first serve.

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