Roanoke Times
                 Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: SUNDAY, July 31, 1994                   TAG: 9408010055
SOURCE: Associated Press
DATELINE: NEWPORT NEWS                                 LENGTH: Short


More than 1,000 guns turned in by southeastern Virginia residents will never fire again: They were melted down Saturday at a shipyard foundry and turned into paperweights.

Arch Crittenden, the organizer of ``Goods for Guns,'' was among those who watched as sparks shot from the furnace at Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.

``We're not anti-gun,'' he said over the roar of the furnace. ``We're not trying to take guns away from anybody.''

He said if people want to own a gun, that's fine with him. ``The guns we want are the non-essential ones - the ones that are just laying around out there.''

The guns were cast into about 100 gray paperweights bearing the ``Goods for Guns'' logo.

Saturday marked the end of a project that Crittenden had worked on for more than a year. The idea hit him after he learned that his new wife was keeping a cheap handgun in their home.

She didn't know how to use it and had never fired it, he said.

``I said, if we start a program where people could turn in unwanted guns, would she turn in hers. Thirty seconds later, she'd made her decision.''

Crittenden hooked up with the Virginia Beach Police Department and WAVY-TV. With their help, he made the gun exchange a regional program, offering people cash or goods for their unwanted weapons.

The actual exchanges took place in the spring, with officials from six area police departments taking in about 1,019 guns.

The arsenal included dozens of cheap handguns, an automatic rife, a 1920s Smith and Wesson revolver and about 50 sawed-off shotguns.

 by CNB