Free meal offered as inducement to turn in guns

January 16, 1994|By Angela Winter Ney | Angela Winter Ney,Staff Writer

An Annapolis restaurant owner is offering a free dinner to anyone who turns in a gun through his church's gun-collection campaign.

Richard McClure, general manager of Carrol's Creek Cafe and a member of the board of directors of the Restaurant Association of Maryland, said he will urge the association this weekend to promote similar exchanges through other county churches.

Mr. McClure's church, Woods Memorial Presbyterian in Severna Park, has endorsed gun-control legislation and has asked members to turn in handguns.

The church began collecting guns after one parishioner's son was killed in a shooting at a local doughnut shop in August. All guns turned in to Woods are being sent to Anne Arundel police to be melted down.

"I'm hoping other restaurants and other congregations will set up similar programs so we can spread the incentive," Mr. McClure said. "This is not going to be the magic pill or the one big thing to correct violence, but my thought is that we need citizens doing what they can."

The minister of Woods, the Rev. Terry S. Schoener, is announcing the free dinner exchange to the congregation today. Members who turn in a gun will receive a certificate good for one dinner at the Annapolis restaurant.

"Gun control has been an issue for Christians for a long time, but people simply haven't organized around it," Mr. Schoener said. "I think the carnage on the streets has forced people to rethink their positions."

In Baltimore, proponents of a gun turn-in this weekend could not find local businesses to provide incentives for gun owners.

But Mr. McClure said he was impressed with the success of a weeklong campaign in New York City last month, in which 375 guns were exchanged for toys and tickets to sporting events.

The restaurant owner said he isn't making the offer as a charitable gesture but because he thinks citizens must find their own solutions to violence.

"We can't rely on someone else or the government to solve the problem," he said. "It's going to take everyone taking lots of little steps."

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