Rep. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) this week plans to introduce a bill that gives a 100% tax break to any corporation that contributes to the program.
New York carpet store owner Fernando Mateo established the program as Toys-for-Guns three weeks ago in the tough Washington Heights neighborhood (AA, Jan. 3).
Using $5,000 of his own money to purchase $100 Toys "R" Us gift certificates, Mr. Mateo was soon joined by that retailer, which donated $20,000 in certificates. The gun swap netted 1,503 firearms, and the effort was renamed Goods-for-Guns after companies from Foot Locker to Dial-A-Mattress signed up. The plan is to eventually take the program national.
Now, Mr. Mateo is targeting the airline industry and retailers such as The Gap as potential sponsors.
While many companies expressed initial interest, "a lot haven't come through," Mr. Mateo said. He declined to name the companies that had pledged support but haven't made donations yet.
Reebok International expressed early interest, but a spokeswoman said last week that "Reebok is still evaluating the success of the program in New York, and once that is done, then we will look at it and see if it is the most effective way for us to help out with the issue."M