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Anonymous donor foots bill for final Phoenix gun buyback

PHOENIX — The third “Guns for Groceries” event in Phoenix, which had been in doubt because of funding issues, will go on as scheduled Saturday.

An anonymous donor contributed $100,000 Tuesday, the same amount that was spent on grocery gift cards for those who turned in a gun.

Almost 1,000 guns were turned in during the first two Saturdays of the event. That was the entire supply of gift cards until another benefactor stepped up.

Phoenix Police Sgt. Steve Martos said the program ran out of grocery cards early last Saturday and had to turn away a few people. Others turned in guns without getting the gift card.

“About 70 people submitted their guns this past week without getting anything in return,” he said.

The last gun buyback will held at Betania Presbyterian Church, at 39th Avenue and Thomas Road; Southminster Presbyterian at 19th Street and Broadway Road; and Sunnyslope Mennonite Church at Seventh Street near East Mountain View Road, in the North Mountain Park area.

Martos said this will likely be the last buyback because Gov. Jan Brewer signed legislation into law that prevents cities from destroying weapons obtained during buybacks.

That law takes effect 90 days after the legislative session ends.