51 Grove Street Saturday, September 28,10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
In the wake of another gun related tragedy and increasing gun violence nationwide four Arlington churches have joined with the Arlington Police Department to announce a joint Gun Buyback event for Saturday, September 28, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Arlington Town Yard at 51 Grove Street. (Rain date: October 5).
The churches, which include Calvary Church United Methodist, Park Avenue Congregational Church United Church of Christ, Trinity Baptist Church and First Parish Unitarian Universalist came together at the suggestion of Calvary member Bob Baker who says he was moved to provide a safe way to get guns off the streets “so they wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands or be used impulsively by people who shouldn’t have access to guns.” Arlington Chief of Police Fred Ryan says, “There are many excess, unwanted firearms in attics and basements around Arlington. They may have been left by our deceased family members or others to people who do not want them around. The buyback event provides the answer to the question, ‘How do we safely dispose of these unwanted guns?’” Arlington Attorney Gene Lucarelli also welcomes the event, adding that he often has inquiries from funeral directors about what families can do with the service weapons and souvenirs that deceased family members have left in their homes.
Crucial to the program is the “No questions asked! No identification required!” policy. Amnesty will be extended for gun law violations for Arlington residents traveling to the event between 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on September 28, 2013. Firearms must be brought to the event with empty chambers, clips or magazines unattached, safeties on and in a carrying case, box or other container. Police Officers will be on hand to accept any and all hand guns, rifles, shotguns, bb guns and air guns, working or non-working, antique or modern, registered or not, and ammunition for safe storage and disposal.
Those who bring in firearms will receive gift cards to local grocery stores.
The program has been met with an outpouring of local and national support. In a letter to Arlington business owners seeking support towards the $20,000 needed to purchase the gift cards, ArtBeat owner Jan Whitted wrote, “We don’t often think of Arlington as a gun-totin’ town, but the fact is that there are firearms in many homes that are not wanted and pose potential risk of lethal accidents.” Several businesses and individuals have already stepped forward with support. The committee invites others to participate by sending donations by check or money order payable to Calvary Church – Gun Buyback Program or online via PayPal at arlingtongunbuyback.org.
State Representative David M. Rogers of Cambridge applauds the program, saying “As we confront the scourge of gun violence, we must summon both courage and creativity. The Arlington Resident Gun Buyback Program is a great example of creative community activism and I applaud the Arlington police and the many fine organizations that are making this important event possible.” His sentiments are echoed by colleague State Senator William N. Brownsberger, “Every gun has the potential to cause harm. Gun buyback programs are a sound way to remove hazards from the community.”
Kathy Mayer, a parent from Newtown, Connecticut, contacted the committee to show her support,
saying “No one ever thinks the unthinkable will happen to them, until one day, when it does. Gun buyback programs like the ambitious effort in Arlington may indeed stop just one family from the pain that affects so many from gun violence. From the bottom of my Newtown heart, I thank you for your efforts to use your collective voices and action to create change, so that perhaps you will never know our pain.”
According to Arlington Police Sergeant Sean Kiernan, who has been working with the organizing committee, calls to the APD’s safe handling phone line have more than doubled since the announcement of the Gun Buyback Program.
To donate, volunteer, or for more information go to: arlingtongunbuyback.org.