NEWBURYPORT — One unwanted gun is too many. The more unused and unnecessary firearms inside people’s homes, the greater the likelihood of an unfathomable tragedy. With that in mind, and buoyed by a successful campaign last year, the Newburyport Police Department and the Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank have teamed up to offer another gun buyback program.
The program begins Friday at 9 a.m. and ends Saturday at 8 p.m. All firearms being delivered to the Green Street police department must be unloaded and delivered in a bag. Handguns, rifles and shotguns will be accepted. For every operable firearm, donors will receive a $100 gift card. Those returning operable assault rifles, shotguns and rifles will receive $50 gift cards, all purchased by the bank.
Non-operable guns, antique firearms, BB guns, pellet guns and holsters will also be accepted, but do not qualify for gift cards. Donated ammunition must be placed in a separate bag or container. Free gun locks will be available to all those who visit the station as well.
“Now is a great time to properly dispose of them,” Newburyport police City Marshal Thomas Howard said.
The timing of this year’s gun buyback program coincides with the imminent return of spring, the time of year where people clean out their garages, closets and other areas of their homes. It also takes place before children are on school vacation, lessening the chance that a child stumbles onto a firearm, Howard added.
Last year’s gun buyback program, organized in response to the mass shooting of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, was so successful that the department ran out of gift cards. Only a few hours into last year’s event, police officers were inundated with more than a dozen rifles and shotguns, and five handguns, some of them dating back to the turn of the 20th century. Those turning over weapons included grandparents looking to make their homes a little safer, adult children of parents who had passed away and those simply looking to downsize the collections, according to Howard.