29 trade in their firearms for Reba McEntire tickets

March 14, 1994|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,Sun Staff Writer

Twenty-nine gun owners traded their revolvers, shotguns and rifles to Baltimore County police yesterday for tickets to country western star Reba McEntire's concert in Baltimore next month.

Ms. McEntire offered the tickets to the concert, scheduled April 10 at the Baltimore Arena, to the first 100 people who turned in guns to Baltimore County police through her "tickets for guns" program.

The 29 firearms -- plus a hand grenade -- were dropped off at the annex of county police headquarters on Kenilworth Avenue in Towson, said police Capt. James Yeasted.

Those turning in guns were allowed to remain anonymous.

Captain Yeasted said, "I'm real happy with what we got because we didn't know what to expect."

He noted that recent gun turn-in programs in Baltimore City have resulted in fewer surrendered guns. Only 11 guns were given up in January when a group of city churches ran a "Turn in Your Gun" program.

The turn-in program yesterday was Baltimore County's first, said County Executive Roger B. Hayden.

"Anything you can do to give an incentive to get guns off the street" is a good idea, said Mr. Hayden, who stopped by to inspect the guns dropped off during the day.

The county's action yesterday was prompted by Ms. McEntire's desire to help get guns off the street, but Mr. Hayden said he might consider repeating the program later.

Michael A. Jaworek, promoter for Ms. McEntire's concert here, said the singer's "tickets for guns program" started a month ago because she decided "getting any guns off the street is important."

The tickets given away yesterday are worth $25.50. The concert is almost sold out, Mr. Jaworek said.

The hand-grenade owner did not get a free ticket because the offer was only for firearms, said Captain Yeasted.

Among those who turned their guns over to police yesterday was a 70-year-old Towson woman, who gave the police a rifle "that didn't even operate," she said.

"I feel strongly about gun control," she added. "I didn't want any young children in our family even seeing a gun in our house." The woman declined to give her name.

Any guns found to be stolen will be returned to their owners. The others will be melted down at Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s Sparrows Point steelmaking plant, Captain Yeasted said.

The McEntire gun turn-in program began Feb. 18 in Waco, Texas, with her first concert stop of the current tour, said Jessie Schmidt, a publicist for Ms. McEntire.

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