New Haven police, hospital officials aim to get guns off the str - WFSB 3 Connecticut

New Haven police, hospital officials aim to get guns off the streets

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(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)
NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

Police and hospital personnel in New Haven said they're teaming up for a buy back program aimed to get guns off the streets.

It'll happen at the New Haven Police Academy Saturday.

Police stressed that the program will be completely anonymous. All people have to do is turn in a gun to get a gift card, no questions asked.

They'll be accepting handguns, pistols and even assault rifles.

Over the past five years, they said the program has collected a few hundred firearms.

"We understand that we're not getting guns out the hands of criminals necessarily, but we are getting guns which could potentially fall into the hands of criminals and also, horribly, into the hands of children," said Officer David Hartman, New Haven police.

That's why on Saturday, they're teaming up with the Injury-Free Coalition for Kids of New Haven and the Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital Injury Prevention Program, which are sponsoring the buyback.

Anyone turning in guns will receive either an American Express or Stop & Shop gift card.

The amounts include:

  • $50 for rifles and shotguns
  • $100 for pistols and handguns
  • $200 for assault weapons

"Getting guns off the street, any gun violence we can prevent is another person we potentially don't have to try and stop the bleeding and talk to a grieving family," said Dr. Dirk Johnson, Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Gun violence is something Johnson, a trauma surgeon, said he knows all too well.

"That's one of the most difficult parts of my job, trying to meet a family for the first time and tell them that their loved one is dead or dying," he said.

Anyone looking to cash in, guns in working condition must be unloaded and turned over in a clear plastic bag. Any ammunition must also be in a separate bag.

Police said in the past, they've had guns turned in that at one point were used in crimes.

However, they stressed that the turn-ins can be done anonymously. No identification will be required.

 "We've gotten as few as 45 guns in an event, and we've gotten as many as 120 in a single event, so we're very hopeful," Hartman said. "They're not recycled, not sold [or] destroyed and we're not going to ask questions."

The event starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m.

It's happening at the police academy at 710 Sherman Parkway in New Haven.

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