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The Boston Globe

Metro

First week of Boston gun buyback nets 136 firearms

Police say response is widespread

Boston Police Chief William Gross, officer James Kenneally, and officer Rachel McGuire examined guns from the buyback.

Kayana Szymczak for The Boston Globe

Boston Police Chief William Gross, officer James Kenneally, and officer Rachel McGuire examined guns from the buyback.

The first week of Boston’s gun buyback program has led to the recovery of 136 firearms, including 129 pistols, the type of firearms most likely to be used in a crime, police said.

Police Sergeant Michael McCarthy said the guns have been handed over to police in nearly every neighborhood, by people of a wide variety of ages.

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“We have had just about every type of community member bringing them in,’’ said McCarthy. “And in just about every location, we had somebody turning one in.’’

Under the Piece for Peace program, people are allowed to turn in the firearms to police anonymously at drop-off points around the city in return for a $200 Visa cash card. McCarthy said that each of the 136 weapons surrendered was tested and was proven to be an operating firearm.

Under the buyback rules, the weapons are tested against ballistic evidence collected at other crime scenes and if there is a match, police will launch an investigation. McCarthy said about a third of the recovered firearms have been tested so far and none of those have been matched to existing forensic evidence.

He said the first batch of surrendered weapons included seven rifles or shotguns. But, he said, police were pleased that the overwhelming majority of weapons handed over were handguns — revolvers and semiautomatics — which historically play a major role in gun crimes.

Boston police last year responded to 260 shootings and confiscated 667 guns, many of them the small 9mm pistols most frequently used in street crimes, police have said.

The buyback began March 24 and will last as long as there are guns being surrendered and the privately funded effort has the cash to provide the $200 gift cards, police said.

“We are just getting started,’’ McCarthy said. “We are hoping this will remind people the importance of it and will get more people involved. We have plenty more $200 gift cards to give out.’’

The buyback program was launched by Mayor Martin F. Walsh with a $125,000 budget, funded by the Boston Police Athletic League, the City of Boston Credit Union, and the Boston Police Runners Club, officials have said.

The Piece for Peace program operates from noon to 7 p.m. weekdays. People who want to turn in firearms privately can call 888-GUNTIPS between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m.

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@
globe.com
. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.

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