HARTFORD —— City officials collected 181 firearms as part of a gun buyback program last weekend, a 50 percent increase over the number of weapons collected last year.
Fifty-five pistols, 91 revolvers, 13 rifles, two derringers, 19 shotguns and one assault rifle were brought in, Mayor Pedro Segarra's office reported. About 120 guns were collected last year. The program was held Saturday at the Community Renewal Team's office on Windsor Street.
Under the program, unwanted firearms may be traded in for gift cards. This year, $11,275 in gift cards was distributed. Officials offered $25 cards for rifles or shotguns, and $75 cards for handguns or assault weapons.
The effort, started four years ago, is meant to help take guns off the streets. To date, 466 guns have been collected.
The program is a collaboration between Hartford Hospital, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Community Renewal Team, the Hartford Police Department and the Hartford State's Attorney's Office.
"The 50 percent increase over last year is positive news," Segarra said in a statement. "It's an example that our coordinated efforts to tackle crime and gun violence are yielding effective results. The city is safer now than it has been in 30 years."
"We still have a lot of work to do," he continued. "We will continue to invest resources, collaborate with community partners and share best practices so that in 10 years Hartford is one of the safest cities in the country."
The fifth annual gun buyback is planned for December 2013. In the meantime, those looking to turn in an unwanted firearm should contact their local police department, or call program's information line at 860-249-1072.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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