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CT gun owners can get gift cards or gun locks at statewide gun buyback program this weekend

Thousands Of Seized Guns Are Melted At The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office Annual Gun Melt
David McNew
Getty Images
A truck dumps approximately 3,500 confiscated guns to be destroyed into a pile at Gerdau Steel Mill on July 19, 2018 in Rancho Cucamonga, California. The weapons were seized in criminal investigations, probation seizures and gun buyback events, and will be recycled into steel rebar for the construction of highways and bridges.

This Saturday, Nov. 12, residents can turn in working guns in exchange for gift cards and gun owners with pistol permits can get free gun safes and locks. The program by Newtown Action Alliance is aimed at reducing firearm-related injuries.

There are more than 400 million civilian-owned guns in the United States. The statewide event seeks to reduce firearm-related injuries by lowering the number of unwanted and unsecured guns that are inside Connecticut homes.

“We’re seeing children as young as 7 or 8 years who have attempted suicide, and sometimes those are with guns found in their household,” Dr. James E. Shmerling, president and CEO, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (CCMC), said at a press conference at the hospital, Thursday.

Shmerling said that on any given day, more than 30 children arrive at CCMC’s emergency department in a mental health crisis. “Some of these children are suicidal,” he said. “Our mission is to keep these children safe and the gun buyback is a great step in this direction.”

CCMC is partnering with Saint Francis Hospital, Hartford Hospital and Yale New Haven Health in the second annual #KeepKidsSafe Connecticut Statewide Gun Buyback coordinated by Newtown Action Alliance.

“This program has been tremendously successful,” said sergeant Chris Mastroianni, Hartford. “Last year we pulled in 150 firearms in almost 3 hours.”

Partner organizations plan to expand the program, under which 530 guns, including 15 rifles, were returned last year.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (Democrat), said he is fighting an uphill battle in the U.S. Senate on safe gun storage.

“There was a time when the gun groups actually promoted gun safety,” Blumenthal said. “For example, [the] National Shooting Sports Foundation provided free gun locks. Still, they have opposed any requirement for safe storage, like Ethan’s law.”

Ethan’s Law, was named after a 15-year-old in Connecticut was killed by a gun. The law passed the Connecticut House with support of 127-16, and in the Senate 34-2 and was signed into law by Gov. Ned Lamont. It requires all firearms, loaded and unloaded, to be safely stored in homes occupied by minors under 18. A national effort for similar legislation has stalled in the U.S. Congress.

Guns can be returned Saturday, Nov. 12, at these locations from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

  • Guilford: Guilford Police Department, 400 Church Street, Guilford
  • Hartford: Capital Region Gun Buyback, Hartford Department of Public Works, 50 Jennings Road, Hartford
  • Middletown: Middletown Police Department, 7735 Main Street, Middletown
  • Newtown: Newtown Police Department, 191 South Main Street, Newtown
  • Stamford: Stamford Police Department, 725 Bedford Street, Stamford
  • Waterbury: Waterbury Police Department Training Center, 240 Bank Street, Waterbury

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of dying, call or text the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 988.

Sujata Srinivasan is Connecticut Public Radio’s senior health reporter. Prior to that, she was a senior producer for Where We Live, a newsroom editor, and from 2010-2014, a business reporter for the station.