For the 15th annual Goods For Guns Day, 16 cities and towns in Central Massachusetts have agreed to participate in this year’s program, December 10th , including Worcester, Westborough, Northborough, Southbridge, Leicester, Leominster, Barre, Fitchburg, Oxford, Dudley, Millbury, Grafton, Charlton, Spencer, Northbridge, and Webster. Residents are instructed to contact their local police departments for local buyback hours.
Police departments in Worcester, Millbury, Grafton, Leicester, Southbridge, Oxford, Northbridge, Webster , Dudley, Charlton, Spencer, Leominster, Barre and Fitchburg, will exchange guns for gift cards of varying amounts on December 10th; ($25 rifle or replica guns, $50 pistol, $75 semiautomatic weapon of any kind).
Residents of ANY city or town may drop off their weapons anonymously at ANY PARTICIPATING police station, in exchange for gift cards. Gun owners are further welcomed to pick up a trigger lock free of charge from the police stations listed above. This year’s buyback will also be accepting realistic toy guns and replicas.
Since the inception of the Goods for Guns program in 2002, almost 3,000 guns have been returned to law enforcement officials in Central Massachusetts. Last year’s program took 340 weapons off the street and out of the home in just one day.
Dr. Michael Hirsh is the medical director for the Worcester Division of Public Health/Central MA Regional Public Health Alliance as well as a pediatric trauma surgeon at the UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center and longtime gun safety advocate.
“This program is an opportunity, for families with guns in their households, to either dispose of them or to get a trigger lock to secure them,” said Dr. Hirsh. “This will ultimately lower the number of suicides, lethal domestic violence events, accidental shootings, and burglarized firearms that end up in criminal hands.”
With gun ownership comes the responsibility of storing guns locked, unloaded and inaccessible to kids. Here are some startling facts and statistics about unsecured weapons in the home:
- They are a risk for inquisitive young children.
- Raise the likelihood of homicide in the home (5x).
- Raise the lethality of domestic violence in the home (5x).
- Raise the risk of suicide in the home by (8x).
- Can attract burglary in the home.
Here are some tips on how to keep your family and your community safe:
- Lock and unload your weapon.
- Keep your weapon out of reach from children.
- Remove weapons from the home of significantly despondent, or depressed individuals.
- Ask your children’s friends’ caregivers if there are weapons where the children play. If so, make sure these weapons are properly secured and stored.
- If you have an unwanted weapon in your home, even if its not legally registered, call your local police department to learn how to dispose of it properly.