RIPR News
4:59 pm
Thu June 24, 2010

Police will hold gun buybacks this weekend

Providence, R.I. – Providence Police are trading guns for gift cards this weekend as part of an effort to reduce violence.

The police are partnering with community organizations and religious groups to provide Walmart gift cards to anyone who voluntarily turns in a firearm.

"We made a commitment, at the beginning of this year, that we would redouble our efforts, whether it was doubling the size of the gang unit, running more programs for kids after school and in the summer, or buying guns off the street," said Dean Esserman, chief of the Providence Police Department.

Buy-back stations will be open on Saturday and Sunday at the Olneyville Housing Corporation and a South Providence Police Station, and police will exchange small caliber guns for $50 dollar gift cards. Larger caliber weapons will be worth $100.

In addition to gift certificates, Police are offering amnesty and anonymity to participants.

Don Anderson, executive minister at the Rhode Island State Council of churches, is encouraging his congregation to take part in the buyback initiative.

"One of the ways to peace is to eliminate a weapon from the hands of anyone who would use it intentionally or accidentally," he said.

A Rhode Island Foundation grant and federal aid are providing the funding for the initiative.