Regional gun buyback program part of Regional Gun Safety collaboration
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Worcester Mayor Joseph M. Petty, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, and Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today announced in partnership with Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, and New England physicians and medical professionals a first-in-the-nation coordinated gun buyback day in their four cities on December 16. The day marks a remembrance of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which happened five years ago Thursday.
"Plain and simple: guns have taken the lives of too many people here in Boston, in our Commonwealth, in New England, and in this country," said Mayor Walsh. "Cities are banding together and stepping up with initiatives to decrease gun violence in our neighborhoods, which is important. With that in mind, we also encourage anyone with a firearm that is in a vulnerable situation or state-of-mind to take advantage of this gun buyback partnership and help us save lives on the streets and in homes."
"For the men and women of the Boston Police Department, the mission has always been clear, and one less gun can mean one less tragedy," said Boston Police Commissioner Evans. "My officers work hard each and every day to make our city a safer place by taking guns off our streets and out of our communities. Help us continue to make our cities and our region safer by turning in a gun."
Medical professionals led by Michael Hirsh, M.D., surgeon-in-chief at Children's Medical Center at UMass Memorial Medical Center and Medical Director for the City of Worcester Department of Public Health, joined the efforts of other medical professionals to decrease youth violence and take guns off the streets by raising funds within their local health care organizations and hosting coordinated buyback days throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
"We need to stop talking about guns solely in terms of public safety. There are over thirty-thousand gun deaths in America every year, but two-thirds of those deaths are suicides. Suicides are not a symptom of public safety, but of public health and mental health. Many of those suicide guns are unsecured and often unwanted," said Doctor Hirsh. "My fellow trauma surgeons and I see the results of unsecured guns every day."
"As I trauma surgeon, I all too often see the deadly effects of gun access and the insurmountable toll it takes on victims, their families and those who treat them," said Peter Masiakos, director of pediatric trauma services at MassGeneral Hospital for Children. "Using our collective power, physicians and political leaders have a responsibility to address the public health crisis that is gun violence. This is an opportunity to safely rid our streets on unwanted weapons and save lives."
Boston Police Department's gun buyback program, "Piece for Peace," is a proactive campaign to take guns off Boston's streets. The buyback program asks city residents to turn-in guns at designated drop-off locations citywide in return for a $100 Visa gift card. The "no questions asked" program allows individuals to anonymously dispose of firearms without fear of charges for illegal possession when turning in the weapon. BPD hopes to distribute more than $15,000 in gift cards tomorrow, thanks to funding provided by MassGeneral Hospital for Children and the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, Boston Children's Hospital and Boston Medical Center. For locations and information on the Boston Police Department's gun buyback efforts this weekend, please click here.
In 2014, Mayor Walsh started the New England Regional Gun Summit that brings together city leaders from across New England to work collaboratively in sharing strategies to reduce gun violence and the trafficking of illegal firearms. The regional partnership focuses on collaboration and open dialogue on the reality of gun violence in our cities. Dr. Hirsch, Mayor Petty, Mayor Bronin, Mayor Elorza and others from cities big and small across New England, are participants in the gun summit which has led to several regional initiatives and events, including the development of gun buyback programs in other cities.
"An unsecured gun is not just a public safety issue, it's a public health issue," said Mayor Joseph M. Petty. "We need to provide an outlet for people to get unwanted and unsecured guns out of the home safely. I am proud to stand with my fellow mayors and the medical professionals in New England to address the issue of gun safety."
"I'm proud to join Hartford's medical community and our Police Department in this regional effort to get guns out of homes safely," said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. "Gun violence is both a public safety issue and a public health issue, and we're fortunate to have longstanding partnerships aimed at reducing the number of guns in our community."
"Any effort to curb gun violence is a step in the right direction considering the tragedies that have claimed innocent lives across the country," said Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. "Providence stands with nearby cities and towns declaring that one life lost to gunfire is too many. We're proud to join a regional movement to rid our streets of weapons that have shattered families and communities."
"An unsecured gun in a home is a danger to everyone who lives and visits," said Dr. David Shapiro, chief, surgical critical care; vice chairman, surgery service line and interim chief quality officer at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. "By collecting guns that people don't want in their homes, we are proactively reducing the threat of an innocent person being harmed by that weapon. Unsafe handling and unsecured guns are a public health concern. We participate in a wide array of programs to decrease injury-buybacks and safety events are one important component."
"We are proud to participate in this regional gun buyback initiative," said Brendan Campbell, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of pediatric trauma at Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford. "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. We also remind gun owners of the critical importance of storing firearms safely and securely."
Each city will be holding its buyback on December 16th but with hours, reimbursement rates, and locations varying between cities.WORCESTER
Funded by District Attorney Joseph Early and UMass Memorial Hospital, the Worcester Goods for Guns Buyback has grown over the last sixteen years to include twenty-four cities and towns in Central Massachusetts. As well as accepting all firearms the Goods for Guns buyback also accepts replica and toy guns as well as handing out trigger locks.HARTFORD
In Hartford, the 9th Annual St. Francis Buyback Day has been moved to coincide with the regional gun buyback initiative on December 16. The Hartford effort has been led by doctors David Shapiro and Brendan Campbell of Saint Francis Hospital and Connecticut Children's Medical Center.PROVIDENCE
In the City of Providence's buyback initiative is sponsored by Hasbro Children's Hospital's The 4-Safety Program, a partnership between Hasbro Children's and Dunkin' Donuts, together with the Providence Police Department, and the office of the Providence Public Safety Commissioner. Weapons can be brought to the Providence Housing Authority at 50 Laurel Ave. between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. For more information, contact Andrea Cheli, 4-Safety Program Coordinator at 401-444-0379 or email@example.com.