‘Innovative’ Police in California offer petrol vouchers in exchange for guns

Fuel duty: Expert suggests road pricing system

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Police in Sacramento, California had offered drivers vouchers to buy petrol in exchange for their dropping off guns, but demand was so high they ran out in less than an hour. Some 134 guns were handed in for the free fuel including an assault weapon.

Some of the guns handed in were illegal, but as the terms of the amnesty meant the owners were anonymous, no charges were filed.

Although the event on Saturday was due to last five hours, the $50 (£43) gift cars were gone so quickly that police had to bring it to a close.

Local police had advertised that there would be “no questions asked and no identification required”, reported the Independent.

Instead, they asked that the guns were brought to them unloaded and safely stored inside their cars.

Some owners brought in what is referred to as ‘ghost guns’ – unregistered, home-built firearms that can’t be traced due to a lack of serial numbers.

Those weapons have been blamed for a string of shootings in California.

Sacramento Police Department said: “Among other reasons, community members most commonly cited a lack of experience or knowledge with firearms, lack of knowledge of the legality of the firearms, or an inability to safely store the firearms as the main reasons for participating in the exchange.”

Their Police chief Kathy Lester added: “We will continue to use innovative ideas to increase the safety of our community.

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She continued: “I truly believe violent crime prevention is a shared responsibility and today’s overwhelming community participation is evidence of the success we can achieve together.”

The amnesty took place just three days before 19 children and three adults were killed by an 18-year old gunman in Uvalde, Texas.

The US has been hit hard by the global rise in fuel prices, with the average cost of petrol in California hitting $6 dollars (£4.80) per gallon.

Across the nation the prices hit the highest average in history according to the American Automobile Association.

Meanwhile here in the UK a petition on motor fuel taxes and VAT cuts to the price of petrol and diesel has been dismissed by MPs after more than 102,000 drivers called for Government action.

MPs gathered on Monday to discuss the possibility of the Government implementing a 40 percent cut in fuel duty and VAT rates in response to record fuel prices.

The Petitions Committee heard that drivers were making difficult sacrifices to be able to afford fuel as the spiralling cost of living crisis spirals.

The Government was obligated to discuss it in the Commons due to it having over 100,000 signatures.

However, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Helen Whateley, said that cutting VAT costs in similar ways as seen in Europe would not help businesses, who already benefit from claiming back their expenses.

She clarified that the Government could not control global oil prices, referencing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Helen Whateley, the MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, said the 5p fuel duty reduction made by the Chancellor in March was worth £2.4billion in 2022 and 2023.

Coupled with the fuel duty freeze announced last year, it is worth around £5billion overall and equates to a reduction in fuel duty of about £100 over the year for the average driver.

In addition, the Government said that cutting fuel duty would carry a significant cost to the Exchequer.

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