Hartford is joining three other violence-plagued New England cities in gun buyback programs on Saturday where people can turn in firearms for gift cards, no questions asked..
The other cities are Boston, Providence and Worcester Mass. Mayors of all four cities on Friday announced details of the coordinated regional buyback. Gun violence has been called a public health threat and medical experts are involved the buyback efforts.
Hartford’s gun buyback will take place between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Community Renewal Team’s offices, 555 Windsor St. People who turn in operable firearms will get Stop & Shop gift cards. A $200 gift card will be given for an assault rifle, a $100 gift card for a handgun or revolver, and a $25 gift card for the return of a shotgun or rifle. Guns should be unloaded, placed in a clear plastic bag inside a paper bag or box. Guns may be returned anonymously.
“I’m proud to join Hartford’s medical community and our police department in this regional effort to get guns out of homes safely,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said in a statement Friday.. “Gun violence is both a public safety issue and a public health issue.”
Hartford has had 28 homicides since January, and police have confiscated 470 firearms this year.
In Hartford, the 9th Annual St. Francis Buyback Day has been moved to coincide with the regional gun buyback initiative on Saturday. The Hartford effort has been led by doctors David Shapiro and Brendan Campbell of Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Firearm collection has fluctuated yearly from 75 to 300 firearms.
“An unsecured gun in a home is a danger to everyone who lives and visits,” said Shapiro.
“We encourage anyone with an unwanted firearm in their home to exchange it for a gift card, so that it won’t be an opportunity for criminals or a curious child,”. said Brendan Campbell, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of pediatric trauma at Connecticut Children’s in Hartford.
In 2014, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh started the New England Regional Gun Summit that brings together city leaders from across New England to work on strategies to reduce gun violence and the trafficking of illegal firearms.