HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island group held a toy gun exchange program with a life saving message Wednesday.

As WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reports, over 100 children were in Hempstead exchanging their toy guns for educational toys.

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The program’s founder says it’s meant to help fight gun violence.

“If we can teach them that guns are not good and that they shouldn’t be playing with them and give them something better than a gun, then we’re on our way to reducing gun violence,” Jean Shafiroff said.

Mayor Wayne Hall called the program potentially life-saving fun.

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“Hopefully the kids will get the message and the parents get the message,” he said. “Don’t buy guns for your kids.”

Shafiroff highlights that over 30,000 people are killed by gun violence every year.

“We need to stop that,” she said. “We need to lower that.”

Shafiroff and Hall were joined by Hempstead Village police officials Wednesday announcing the exchange.

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