Mayor Walsh announces continued anti-violence efforts
March 24, 2014
Today Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced comprehensive plans to address gun violence in the City of Boston: a citywide gun buy-back program, an upcoming regional summit on gun trafficking, and renewed focus on funding for Boston's Summer Jobs program. Mayor Walsh was joined by Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, community advocates including Pastor Liz Walker and other clergy, and representatives from community and advocacy organizations addressing violence.
"What you see before you today is that our community is united. And we are united with them, in the goal of making our neighborhoods, our homes, and our children safe," said Mayor Walsh at today's announcement. "We’re here to do much more than launch a single program. This is the first step in a long-term, city-wide mission to prevent violence. The people standing with me today have come together to support each other and better their communities. We are calling on everyone in the City of Boston to join us as we move forward, because everyone has a responsibility in this mission."
The 2014 Boston Gun Buy Back Program, called "Your Piece for Peace," will take place beginning today. Guns will be accepted anonymously, no questions asked, Monday through Friday, 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at district police stations and various designated drop-off sites throughout Boston. Arrangements for private exchanges may be made upon request, by calling 1-888-GUNTIPS between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. Those turning in firearms must follow a very specific protocol:
- Guns MUST be delivered unloaded.
- Guns MUST be put in a clear plastic bag and put into another container (gym bag, backpack, etc.).
- If depositing ammunition in addition to a gun, ammunition must be delivered in a separate bag.
- If transporting the gun by car, gun must be transported in the trunk of the car.
If protocol is followed, the person dropping off the firearm will not be prosecuted for unlawful possession of that specific firearm. Amnesty will not be given for any other crime committed with that firearm or for any other crime committed while in possession of that firearm. All guns will be accepted, but incentives (a $200 Visa® gift card) will not be issued for junk or antique guns, rifles or shotguns. Gift cards will only be issued for workable firearms, as determined by the police officer accepting the weapon. Guns will be sent to the Boston Police Ballistics Unit. They will be tested to determine whether or not the weapon has been involved in criminal activity. If the test is positive, the gun will be retained as evidence, and an investigation will follow. If the test is negative, the weapon will be slated for destruction.
"This program is about empowering our community, and bringing everyone to work together to get illegal guns off our streets," said Commissioner Evans. "Every gun turned in is a life potentially saved. If you have access to a gun, here is your opportunity to turn it in and help us break the cycle of violence."
Mayor Walsh will also be hosting a Regional Gun Trafficking Summit in Boston later this spring. Attendees will include elected officials and law enforcement from neighboring states, leaders in academia around violence, community partners and organizations focused on anti-violence work, and representatives from other local, state, and federal government agencies. The Summit will be an opportunity to bring all stakeholders to the table to discuss best practices and to build relationships and foster collaborative work to prevent illegal guns from crossing state lines.
"The illegal trafficking of crime guns is one of the primary threats to the safety of our neighborhoods across this country," said Mayor Walsh. "In the absence of federal action to close dangerous loopholes that allow criminals and prohibited purchasers to have easy access to crime guns, we must take action regionally to confront this problem head on."
Last week, Mayor Walsh launched a campaign to increase private sector engagement for the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program by encouraging non-participating companies to join already committed Boston businesses that plan to hire youth this summer. For this initiative, the City of Boston partners with the Boston Private Industry Council to organize private sector employers, from the region’s leading companies to neighborhood small businesses, to provide meaningful summer employment for Boston public high school students. This initiative is one part of the comprehensive Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program that places Boston youth in community based organizations, non-profits, and the private sector to gain valuable workplace skills including communication, teamwork, and time management. In his first budget for the City, Mayor Walsh will maintain the funding allotted for last year's program, and has pledged to create 10,000 jobs for youth in Boston this summer. For private sector employers seeking more information or to pledge to hire youth this summer, visit www.bostonsummerjobs.org.
"The summer months are a critical time. Without school to structure their days, young people can be drawn in many different directions, sometimes toward trouble," said Mayor Walsh. "But with meaningful work, they can grow in a positive direction. When we talk about addressing the root causes of violence, that's what we mean. It’s about providing young people with opportunity and putting them on pathways to success."