Mayor Martin J. Walsh has announced a regional gun buyback program with an incentive for those who turn in weapons — a $100 Visa gift card, no questions asked.
Called “Your Piece for Peace,” the buyback was announced a day after the fifth anniversary of the devastating Newtown shootings that left 20 children dead.
“We have lost young people on our streets of America, every single day. That’s why we’re here today,” Walsh said Friday.
The program was one of several that were set to take place in the region Saturday, from Worcester, to Providence, to Hartford, Conn.
In Boston, guns can be turned in from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at eight locations: Central Assembly of God, 50 Bennington St.; Project Right, 320a Blue Hill Ave.; St. Peter’s Church, 278 Bowdoin St.; Salvation Army, 1500 Washington St.; Archdale Development, 125 Brookway Road; McCormack Housing Development, 345 Old Colony Ave.; Garfield Development, 215-217 Garfield Ave.; and Greater Love Tabernacle Church, 101 Nightingale St.
City officials promised amnesty for residents who turn in a gun. The gun must be unloaded and carried in a clear plastic bag, and then put into another container such as a gym bag or backpack.
Police Commissioner William Evans said those who turn in guns can do so anonymously, but police will still test guns to see whether they have been used in any crimes. No amnesty will be given for any crimes that were committed before the gun was turned in.
The city has collected hundreds of guns through similar buyback programs in recent years. Funding for the gift cards to be handed out Saturday was raised by local hospitals including MassGeneral Hospital, Boston Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Peter Masiakos, director of pediatric trauma at MassGeneral Hospital, said he has the job of telling mothers that one of their children has died from a gunshot. One of his colleagues lost a cousin in the Newtown shooting. He called deaths from gunshot wounds, whether in the form of violence, or accidental shootings, or suicide, a public health crisis.
“The perception that we’re not doing anything about this, or leaving it at the emergency rooms, has stopped,” he said.Milton J. Valencia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @miltonvalencia.