What do Burlington residents do if they have guns or other dangerous weapons they no longer want? The Burlington Police Department will be holding a gun buy back on December 14, 2013. This coincides with the first anniversary of the tragic school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.
“Burlington is a safe community and the vast majority of gun owners are responsible, law abiding citizens. This initiative of collecting unwanted guns and weapons, addresses a vital public safety and public health issue” according to Burlington Police Chief Michael Kent.
The Burlington Police Department has partnered with the Burlington Clergy Group, the Burlington Board of Health, and Wegman’s Supermarkets, who have pledged $50 gift cards for each gun turned in. Each weapon will be safely destroyed. Residents are also invited to pick up free gun safety locks from the police, as provided by the co-sponsoring Clergy Group, whether or not they have turned in unwanted guns.
The Clergy Group has suggested the Newtown anniversary as an appropriate time for this project. They believe that this is one small action we can take as a community at a time when we will be reminded of how easily, and tragically, guns can fall into the wrong hands. Action, and not helplessness, is the right response to repeated incidents of gun deaths.
Unwanted firearms are a potential hazard in any home. Unwanted firearms can be stolen, used in accidental shootings or a suicide. When guns are used in criminal attacks, the outcomes are often irreversible and fatal.
We recognize that the overwhelming majority of licensed gun owners safely handle and store their firearms. However, the access and availability of firearms is associated with an increased risk of suicide in the home. One study concluded that a household is five times as likely to have a suicide in that home if there is a gun in the home. Overall, guns kept in the home were 22 times more likely to be used in accidental shootings, assaults and suicide attempts, than in an act of self-defense, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Handgun Violence.
“Community support is critical to the success of this program; we thank the local churches, clergy, concerned residents, and community leaders who support this initiative,” said Chief Kent.
Any unwanted gun or weapons can be brought to the Burlington Police Department on December 14, between 9am and 1pm or can be picked up during those hours by the Burlington Police Department by calling 781-272-1212.