The "Gun Buy Back" initiatives collected dozens of firearms in Hartford and New Haven on Saturday afternoon.
Officials in Hartford said they received 68 firearms, including 3 assault rifles. In New Haven, officials said they collected 138 working firearms, which broke last year's total of 103 weapons collected.
Both cities held gun buyback programs in coordination with local hospitals and the state who are joining forces to stop handgun violence.
The Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Hartford Hospital and Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, the City of Hartford, Hartford Police Department, the Hartford State's Attorney's Office and Community Renewal Team are all collaborating on the ninth annual gun buyback program in the capital city.
Community Renewal Team spokesperson Jason Black told Eyewitness News that the organization received 68 firearms at the event, including 3 assault rifles, 1 machine gun, 25 pistols, 20 revolvers, 8 rifles, 8 shot gun, and 3 Derringer pistols.
New Haven Chief of Police, Anthony Campbell told Eyewitness News that 4 Derringer handguns, 74 handguns and 60 rifles and shotguns were collected in New Haven. Amongst the group, police collected 2 assault rifles.
“That’s success”, said Chief Campbell.
Dr. David Shapiro, who is a chief of surgical critical care at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, said "an unsecured gun in a home is a danger to everyone who lives and visits."
“By collecting guns that people don’t want in their homes, we are proactively reducing the threat of an innocent person being harmed by that weapon. Unsafe handling and unsecured guns are a public health concern. We participate in a wide array of programs to decrease injury—buybacks and safety events are one important component," Shapiro said in a statement on Friday.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said the collaboration is a "regional effort to get guns out of homes safely."
“Gun violence is both a public safety issue and a public health issue, and we’re fortunate to have longstanding partnerships aimed at reducing the number of guns in our community," Bronin said in a statement on Friday.
Saturday's event is the first time the Capitol Region Collaborative Gun Buyback organization will team up with neighboring states for a regional buyback event.
The Hartford event ran from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Community Renewal Team, located at 555 Windsor St.
There was also a gun buyback in New Haven, which is in partnership with the Injury Free Coalition for Kids of New Haven and Yale-New Haven Hospital's Injury Prevention Program. There will be free gun locks at the New Haven event and they will be providing safe gun storage information.
The New Haven event ran from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at New Haven Police Department located at 710 Sherman Parkway.
At both events, organizers are giving out gift cards to anyone, who turns in an operable firearm.
Police said all "guns must be delivered unloaded in clear plastic bags, and any ammunition must be delivered in a separate bag." The person dropping off the gun may return the weapon anonymously.
Brendan Campbell, who is the medical director of pediatric trauma at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, said they are "proud to participate in this regional gun buyback initiative."
“We encourage anyone with an unwanted firearm in their home to exchange it for a gift card, so that it won’t be an opportunity for criminals or a curious child. We also remind gun owners of the critical importance of storing firearms safely and securely," Campbell said in a statement on Friday.
All the guns that are collected will be destroyed after the events.
To donate to the Injury Free Coalition for Kids of New Haven and Yale-New Haven Hospital's Injury Prevention Program, click here.
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