Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik organized a gun turn-in program at a local police station Tuesday for people who have decided they no longer want weapons in their homes.
Kozachik, a Republican, said he is hoping it helps bring added pressure as Congress and Arizona's Legislature come back into session to "keep the conversation" about gun control alive.
People giving up their guns will receive $50 gift cards from Safeway, the grocery store chain where Giffords was shot in the parking lot. The grocer contributed $1,000 of the nearly $10,000 Kozachik raised.
He said that as the shooting fades from the public's mind, issues such as controlling the sale of large-capacity magazines and keeping guns from the mentally ill need attention.
The event angered local gun-rights advocates, including an outgoing state senator who said he planned to be outside the station and offer people cash for guns instead.
"They're stealing it, stealing it," said Frank Antenori, a Republican who was defeated in a congressional primary bid last year and in a reelection effort for the state Senate. "Can you name me one firearm in working condition that's worth $50 or less?"
Antenori and Kozachik accused each other of acting out of political motivations.
Antenori said the councilman was sullying both the Tucson and Connecticut school shooting victims by the timing of the program.
Kozachik said Antenori was just trying to keep his name in the news and remain relevant.