December 8 2014

Burlington Police, Local Clergy, Looking to Collect Unwanted Firearms in Buyback Program

By: Rich Hosford

The Burlington Police Department and members of the local clergy are working to get unwanted firearms out of Burlington homes, and keep them from potentially falling into the wrong hands or becoming a tool for a disastrous accident. 

 

Police Chief Michael R. Kent announced last that the department is partnering with local clergy to hold a buyback event for unwanted firearms.

"Burlington is a safe community, and the vast majority of gun owners are responsible and law abiding citizens," Chief Kent said. "This initiative of collecting unwanted guns and weapons, addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Some people have inherited guns that they do not want. Some gun owners no longer want their weapons, but they do not know how to dispose of them. Each gun we take back is one less chance for someone to get hurt by something that they do not even want in their home.”

The buyback program will be held on Saturday, December 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Burlington Police Department. If any Burlington residents have guns or other dangerous weapons they no long want, bring them to the Second Annual Burlington Police Department Gun Buyback.

This event is one day before the second anniversary of the tragic school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, and is sponsored by the Burlington Clergy Group, the Burlington Board of Health, and Wegmans Food Markets, which has generously pledged $25 gift cards for each gun that is turned in, a release from the department states. 

Each weapon will be safely and responsibly destroyed.

Residents are also invited to pick up free gun safety locks from the police, courtesy of the Burlington Clergy Group, whether or not they have turned in unwanted guns. 

The Clergy Group suggested the Newtown anniversary when planning last year's buyback as an appropriate time for this project, the release states. 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," said Rabbi Susan Abramson of Temple Shalom Emeth. "Unwanted firearms are a potential hazard in any home. They can be stolen, used in accidental shootings or a suicide. When guns are used in criminal attacks, the outcomes are often irreversible and fatal."

The BPD recognizes that the overwhelming majority of licensed gun owners safely handle and store their firearms, but there is always the potential for problems, accidents, and tragedy, the release continues. 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 shooting, 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,” Chief Kent said.

Middlesex Sheriff's Deputies will be on hand to help collect the firearms. All firearms taken in will be turned over to Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian's office for proper transport and disposal. Chief Kent expresses his sincere gratitude to the Sheriff's Office for their help, the release states. 

I am glad we will once again be able to support Burlington Police in this effort," said Sheriff Koutoujian.  "At a time when nearly 34,000 people are accidentally shot or commit suicide with a firearm each year, these locally organized buybacks present residents with an opportunity to safely and securely get unwanted firearms out of their homes."

 
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