Boston Launches Gun Buyback Program

BOSTON — Boston officials on Monday began a new gun buyback program, in an effort to get illegal firearms off city streets.

Under the “Your Piece For Peace” program, people can anonymously turn in a gun to police stations and 24 drop-off sites throughout Boston, and receive a $200 Visa gift card in return.

“Every gun turned in is a life potentially saved,” Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said in a statement announcing the buyback. “If you have access to a gun, here is your opportunity to turn it in and help us break the cycle of violence.”

Those turning in a firearm must follow a specific protocol (see here for that protocol and drop-off locations and hours), and private exchanges may also be arranged. It’s a no-questions-asked program, so “[i]f protocol is followed, the person dropping off the firearm will not be prosecuted for unlawful possession of that specific firearm,” the statement said.

Gift cards will only be issued for workable guns. Gift cards will not be issued for turned-in junk or antique guns, rifles or shotguns.

The program has so far raised about $125,000 from donations, per WBUR’s Delores Handy.

The efficacy of buyback programs has long been questioned. As The Boston Globe reported last month:

Gun buyback programs have been a staple of urban crime-fighting measures across the country for more than two decades, but a growing body of research has concluded they are ineffective, at best.

Indeed in its FAQ Monday, the Boston Police Department said “there are no reliable statistics regarding a gun buyback’s direct effect on gun violence.” But, the BPD FAQ, added: “That said, we do know that if a gun is turned in, it will not be used in a future crime.”

The city’s buyback was first announced early last month, after a 14-year-old Mattapan boy was accused of accidentally shooting and killing his 9-year-old brother. That death followed a higher-than-average nine homicides — including eight by gun — in the month of January.

“This is the first step in a long-term, city-wide mission to prevent violence,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in Monday’s statement on the buyback program.

Walsh also announced the city will host a regional gun trafficking summit later this spring, and he has pledged to create 10,000 jobs for youth in Boston this summer.

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  • X-Ray

    Does anyone really beleive that the people of obtained guns illegally or criminals who would plan to use them illegally, will really surrender their weapons (because they have seen the light)?

    • fun bobby

      I wonder if they consider a mosin nagant an antique or if they will give me $200 for one. I can get them by the crate for less than $100. cha ching!

  • fun bobby

    what a great feel good program. too bad those funds were not used to educate kids to prevent them from joining gangs and shooting each other in the boston area.

  • Away Sale

    another waste of time. no thug gang banger is going to turn in his gun. what a joke this is.

  • disqus_DSlT7QVCEp

    Great, Boston officials are providing a no-questions-asked fencing operation for these people. Like the Fast and Furious gunwalking operation, what could go wrong?

  • Coffee Fiend

    A well-trained militia, composed of the body of the people trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state.

  • spencer60

    Morons. They obviously didn’t read the recent Department of Justice report that said ‘buybacks’ are a complete waste of time and money.

    The only ‘guns’ they ever get back are usually rusty, non-functional relics. Once in a while a real antique is also turned in, which then means it gets destroyed versus sent to a museum.

    Criminals won’t hand over the tools of their trade for a $200 gift card. In fact no working firearm is worth that little anyways. They could take it to a pawn shop and get more if they wanted.

    Face it Boston, you are not going to be able to buy your way out of your crime problem.

    It involves actually chasing down, prosecuting and most importantly, incarcerating criminals for long periods of time, so they do not have the opportunity to commit more crimes.

    You can’t accomplish that with a $200 gift card.

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