In the wake of increasing incidents, nationally and locally, of accidental injuries and deaths from guns, the Belmont Religious Council, faith communities in town, the Belmont Police Department and the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office have joined for a community Gun Buyback event on Saturday, May 31, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Belmont DPW Yard, 37 C St.
The Belmont event is modeled on recent successful gun buyback events held in other towns across Massachusetts and in other parts of the country, including one held in Arlington in September 2013.
Belmont Police officers and the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office will be on hand to accept any and all hand guns, rifles, shotguns, assault weapons, BB guns and air guns, working or non-working, antique or modern, registered or not, and ammunition for safe storage, followed by disposal in accordance with state law.
A key aspect of the event is the “No questions asked! No identification required!” policy. Amnesty will be extended for gun law violations by residents traveling to the event. 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.
Those who bring in firearms will receive gift cards to local grocery stores, in the following amounts:
- $25 for BB or pellet gun or inoperable firearm
- $50 for a revolver, semi-automatic, shotgun, or rifle.
- $100 for an assault weapon.
The Belmont Police Department has set up a special phone line to receive questions and requests for assistance in transporting firearms to the event: 617-993-2529.
Aided by the Religious Council, seven faith communities – All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Belmont, Belmont- Watertown United Methodist Church, Beth-El Temple, First Baptist Church of Belmont, The First Church in Belmont, UU, Plymouth Congregational Church, UCC, and the St. Joseph and St. Luke Collaborative parishes – banded together to push for the program, which is supported by Belmont’s state legislators, State Sen. Will Brownsberger and State Rep. Dave Rogers.
“In addition to removing unwanted firearms from homes, another benefit of the gun buyback is the dialogue that has developed among community members on how we can all work together to reduce gun violence in Belmont and beyond,” said Jean Dickinson, a member of the First Church in Belmont UU, who led the initiative.
Belmont Police Chief Richard McLaughlin said, “Personally, I feel that it is a very worthwhile voluntary program and an opportunity for our residents to dispose of unwanted firearms and ammunition, especially in light of some of the tragic situations we have seen throughout Massachusetts, the country and the world.”
“On average, more than 34,000 people are accidentally shot or commit suicide using a firearm each year. I believe that providing residents with a safe way to dispose of firearms they no longer want can help reduce these numbers,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian.
“These buybacks also encourage dialogue among those involved about ways to make our communities safer.”
Several Belmont businesses have already stepped forward to make donations in support of the event. The Belmont Gun Buyback Committee invites other businesses and individuals to do the same. The Committee hopes to raise $5,000 to purchase grocery gift cards to be provided in exchange for firearms. Any leftover grocery gift cards will be donated to the Belmont Food Pantry.
Donations may be made by sending a check or money order payable to: Belmont UMC/Gun Buyback Program and mailed to: Belmont United Methodist Church, 421 Common Street, Belmont, MA 02478, or via pay pal on www.belmontgunbuyback.org