New London— The police department collected 23 handguns and 19 long guns Sunday during the second day of its gun buyback program, which allows people to exchange unwanted guns for prepaid debit gift cards.
Acting Chief Peter Reichard said Sunday’s program drew 28 gun owners to the Truman Street substation, and police paid $3,725 for the 42 guns they collected.
Participants received gift cards of $75 for shotguns or rifles, $100 for handguns and $150 for assault weapons. The program relied on private donations raised by the mayor’s office.
Sunday’s collection brings the total number of weapons collected this weekend to 126. They will now be transported to the Connecticut State Police Firearms Unit to be destroyed. Over the weekend, police collected 62 handguns, 63 long guns, and one assault weapon and distributed $10,900 in gift cards.
The police department will continue to purchase guns next weekend, March 9 and 10. The program is open only to New London County residents and only three guns per person will be accepted.
The program, which is jointly sponsored by the city, religious organizations and the New London County Bar Association, does not offer amnesty to criminals turning in firearms. Police check the serial number on each weapon to ensure that it is not linked to a crime.
A story about the program generated discussion Sunday on theday.com. While people raised familiar arguments for or against gun control, others were skeptical of the program.
“This doesn’t impact the actual problem whatsoever,” wrote a reader identified as “My thoughts.” “Criminals and the mentally ill represent the true issue at hand, and what makes you think a criminal is going to turn in his stolen/illegal weapon?”