NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) — The first-ever Valley Gun Buy-Back was held Saturday at the Northampton and Greenfield Police stations.
Gun owners were asked to bring their unloaded firearms in a bag. In return for handguns, rifles, and shotguns, they received $50 gift cards. Two gift cards were given for assault weapons.
All weapons had to be in working condition. Ammunition was also accepted.
Police say they hope that the program will keep weapons out of homes. However, it’s not just in an attempt to stop crime.
Mother Linda Shippie says the program will keep people from hurting themselves. “My only child shot himself with no apparent signs of depression,” she explains.
Experts at the Centers for Disease Control say homes with guns are five times more likely to experience the suicide of a household member than homes without guns.
“Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the country and we are trying to raise awareness by having people remove guns from their homes,” says Ida Konderwicz, the Injury Prevention Coordinator at Baystate Health System.
Just two hours into Saturday’s event, more than 200 guns had been collected at the two stations.
Police say the C.D.C. estimates that 30,000 people are killed each year by firearms in the United States. Half of them are between the ages of 18 and 35.