In a program that Worcester doctors and police hope will reduce injuries from gun accidents, residents of that city can turn in guns today and next Saturday in exchange for gift cards.
The UMass Memorial Medical Center, in conjunction with the Worcester Police, is holding its eighth annual Goods for Guns buyback program. The program allows gun owners to relinquish their guns at the police station in exchange for Wal-Mart gift cards of up to $75.
The hope is to limit the accidents in which weapons kept for protection accidentally injure family members or friends. Dr. Michael Hirsh, the program's founder, said he sees the aftermath of such accidents in his role as chief of pediatric surgery and trauma care at the hospital.
Live5news reports on a similar program in Charleston South Carolina which took in 127 weapons.
North Charleston Police teamed up with Mt. Moriah Baptist Church and St. Matthews Baptist Church to collect 127 guns in a no-questions-asked gun buy-back Saturday.
"All of us have a right to bare arms in a legal way," A.D. Robinson Jr. of Mt Moriah Baptist Church said. "We don't want to take that right from anyone. These weapons that have been turned in is people that had them and didn't know what to do with them. They didn't know how to dispose of them."
Police destroyed all rifles, shotguns, pistols and other assault weapons they collected. In exchange for the guns they gave retail gift cards worth $100.
I still don't understand the passionate opposition to these initiatives on the part of pro-gun people. In both of these articles, the goal was to afford folks a legal way of disposing of weapons they don't want. Doesn't that make sense? Not everyone would feel comfortable throwing a gun in the river under cover of darkness to get rid of it.
I believe there's another hidden benefit to these programs. Some of the participants are probably surrendering guns that illegally belong to their sons or grandsons who are budding criminals. Naturally those young people can rearm themselves with little difficulty, but even temporarily disarming them has got to be a good thing.
So what's the problem with these programs? I don't buy that complaint that they cost too much taxpayer money. For these buy-backs we're talking nickels and dimes. I don't buy the complaint that they harvest only broken down worthless weapons. The picture from the Worcester police doesn't seem to contain rusty unserviceable guns. So what is it?
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.