Several police agencies in Massachusetts offer to buy back weapons from gun owners around the state on Saturday.
In an effort to reduce gun-related deaths, cities throughout Middlesex County offered $5-$200 gift cards in exchange for ammunition and guns, advertising a “no questions asked” policy at each location.
“Any time we can get weapons or guns, pistols, even replicas, off the street, it's a good thing for lawn enforcement and it's a good thing for the community,” said Stephen Kervick, an armorer for the Cambridge Police Department.
In 2015, Cambridge recovered 55 guns while hosting a similar event. This year, they brought in 22. However, the interest prompted Belmont, Arlington, Somerville and Waterville to also participate, in conjunction with the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office.
“My nephew was dating one of the teachers that was killed in Sandy Hook,” said Cambridge resident, Manny Lusardi.
After learning of the event, Lusardi dug up two BB guns he had found left in a playground and brought them to police.
“I think this is the first step in the right direction,” he said of the initiative. “It’s one more life possibly not taken.”
Community members helped raise money to provide the gift cards police gave in exchange for the weapons. Bishop Brian Greene of the Pentecostal Tabernacle, who helped host the event in his parking lot, said it was a chance for them to potentially lower the number of gun deaths in the state.
“I'm not under the delusion that this is going to be the cure all,” explained Greene. “But any, even if it's just 1%, but anything that can help I think we should do.”
Future buy back events in Middlesex County will be held at the Somerville Department of Public Works on June 25, 2016 and the First Parish Church in Watertown on June 18, 2016.