An item on tonight’s City Council agenda seeks to begin the process of setting up a gun buyback program in New London.
Proposed by Council President Michael Passero, the item “recommends that the administration pursue a gun buyback program through the police department.” If accepted without changes, the matter will be sent to the Public Safety Committee for further review.
Several gun buyback programs, in which residents turn in firearms in exchange for cash or other incentives, have taken place across the country in the wake of the Dec. 14 massacre in Newtown. In that incident, a shooter killed his mother with one of her firearms before traveling to Sandy Hook Elementary School and killing 20 children, six adults, and himself.
Deputy Chief Peter Reichard said he was been involved in gun buyback programs while with the New Haven Police Department. He said most agencies offer between $50 and $100 for a handgun or long gun.
Reichard said funding is the primary concern for such programs. He said businesses and individuals have donated toward gun buybacks, and that gift cards and pre-paid credit cards have also been used as an incentive.
One gun buyback program in Hartford has been active for four years and offers $25 gift cards for rifles or shotguns and $75 for handguns and assault weapons. The effort is a collaboration between the city of Hartford, Community Renewal Team, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Emergency Nurses Association, Hartford Hospital, Hartford Police Department, Office of the Hartford State’s Attorney, St. Francis Hospital, the Hartford Police Department, the Office of the Hartford State's Attorney. At its Dec. 1 event, the buyback collected 145 handguns and 34 rifles or shotguns.
Gun buybacks also took place in Bridgeport and New Haven after the Newtown shooting.
The council meets at 7 p.m. tonight at City Hall.