The Watertown Police Department will join other local police departments in a Gift Cards for Guns program.
The gun-take-back event will be held on Saturday, June 18, at First Parish Church, 35 Church St., in Watertown. No IDs are required.
“People can come turn their guns in, no questions asked, and we give them gift cards,” Watertown Police Chief Michael Lawn said.
The fire arms should be brought in unloaded with the safety engaged in a bag, box or case. Those taking part will receive a gift card ranging from $50-$200.
The event is sponsored by First Parish Church, Massachusetts State Police, Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, Watertown Community Foundation, Watertown Police Department, Watertown Police Foundation and World in Watertown.
Watertown is joining with other area communities to put on the gun buyback program. There will be other dates to turn in fire arms in other towns on other dates. The Police released the following information:
The regional initiative – modeled on successful efforts in several communities in Middlesex County over the past three years – is focused on providing residents with a safe and secure way of removing unwanted firearms from their homes. Buyback events will occur throughout the month of June, beginning June 11 in Arlington, Belmont and Cambridge, continuing June 18 in Watertown and concluding June 25 in Somerville.
“Nationwide more than 20,000 people commit suicide with a firearm and another 16,000 are injured in unintentional shootings each year,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian. “Providing residents with an avenue to safely dispose of unwanted firearms makes our communities – and especially our homes – safer, and we are proud to support our partners in this effort.”
According to the most recent data available from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 115 Massachusetts residents died as a result of a firearm-related suicide in 2013.
“This initiative represents a powerful opportunity for individuals, organizations, and houses of faith to come together to create safer homes and safer communities,” said Lori Lander, founding organizer at Many Helping Hands.
“The WPD is excited to take part in our first gun buy back initiative to promote safer homes in our community,” Lawn said. “We encourage all our residents to turn in unwanted firearms and make our community and our surrounding communities a safer place to live.”
Officials believe the regional approach will provide residents with additional opportunities to remove these unwanted firearms from their homes. Residents of the five communities can turn in unwanted firearms at any of the sites. Times and locations for each of the events will be announced by the local partners.
Since October 2013, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has provided support to gun buyback initiatives in seven communities including four of the five communities participating in the regional initiative. In total, 299 unwanted firearms were turned in during the previous events.