Springfield gun buyback program trades guns for groceries

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In its first hour, Springfield residents brought over 40 guns of all kinds to the Joint Gun Buy-Back Program at the Raymond M. Sullivan Security Complex on Carew Street on Saturday morning. Large stack of shotguns, rifles and some handguns turned into authorities in exchange for $ 25 gift cards donated by Big Y supermarkets

The quality of guns ranged from very well finished Smith and Wessons, from large frame revolvers to older .22 single shot rifles.

Even the old single-shot rifles that have been pulled out of the closet are a major concern, Lt. Brian Béliveau said. He heads the Springfield Police Department’s Firearms Investigation Unit.

“We have a few that have been turned into sawed-off shotguns. The grips have been cut and the barrels shortened. They are highly concealable in this configuration, ”he said. “This makes it a viable threat to us and the community. Every firearm that passes here has the potential to be very dangerous and certainly not something we want to encounter in the course of our duties. “

Beliveau said anyone looking to bring guns to a buyout shouldn’t worry about not having the proper permits.

“Getting the gun off the streets is our top priority,” he said. “As long as they bring a gun, we won’t force them to obey licensing laws.”

City Councilor Jesse Lederman said the program offers his constituents a great opportunity.

“For people or families who have inherited a gun and don’t know what to do with it, this is a great opportunity to get it back safely,” he said.

Ward 3 Councilor Melvin Edwards agrees.

“Any initiative to eliminate the risk of a gun falling into the wrong hands or ending up on our streets is a good move,” he said.

The buyback program was sponsored by Councilors Melvin Edwards and Jesse Lederman, Sheriff Nick Cocchi and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, as well as the Springfield Police Department.

“Gun buybacks work, and if we can get guns off the streets, it’s less likely that someone can use them to commit a crime or maim someone,” the mayor said. “Many times these weapons are stolen. Our goal is to keep them out of the hands of the negative individual.

Béliveau agreed that a percentage of the guns turned over to the program are stolen and that a large number of gun crimes are stolen guns. The more authorities can withdraw from the illicit market, the better. But it also means that the authorities have the option of returning the property to the rightful owner. The rest will be destroyed by a contractor.

Several of the handguns redeemed for Big Y gift cards include Smith and Wesson revolvers and several semi-automatic pistols.

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