Gun Buyback

For information about the new gun buyback program in Belmont, please click here. If you have details on buyback programs in other communities, please feel free to add them as comments to this topic.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

16 replies on “Gun Buyback”

  1. Will,

    The values stated are about 10% of what those guns would be worth in the legal market place. Further, in Belmont especially, the people turning these in will likely be those who don’t know the value (women whose husbands have passed away, as one example). Why not call a licensed FFL to give these people a fair value for them?

  2. That’s not really the point.

    A gun owned by someone in Belmont is highly unlikely to be used to hurt anyone. What would be fair would be to give these people a reasonable value for their guns and an FFL would be willing to do that.

  3. First, I hope that the guns obtained through the buy back program are destroyed, not sold on the gun market. After all, the point of the program is not to find a better home for the gun, but to take it out of circulation. Thus it is more appropriate to view it as a donation, like donating an unwanted car to NPR, rather than a sale. The buy back money serves simply as an incentive. I would have no objection if the gun donor were able to claim the remaining value of their gun on their taxes as a donation, for instance.

  4. Good thought, Kiril. That is actually the right point to make in response to Paul’s comment. The goal is to reduce the number of guns in circulation. It would be unacceptable for gun returned in a buyback to end up involved later in a crime. We’ll check on the disposal procedures.

  5. Hi Will, I’m on the gun buyback committee. State law dictates that the weapons be processed for destruction (first their serial numbers are documented). Members of the Belmont Police Department and Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office are the only individuals who are allowed to handle them. The gift cards are an incentive rather than an exchange for value. The BPD has set up a call line–617 993-2529–to answer any questions.

  6. For a little more information here are the regulations for a Firearms Surrender Program from the Executive Office of Public Safety:

    3.06: Firearms Surrender Program
    (1.) Date/Time/Location. Persons turning in a firearm(s) shall notify their local law enforcement department or the Department of State Police, in writing or by telephone, informing the department of their desire to surrender a firearm(s). Such persons shall make arrangements with the department regarding date, time, locations, manner, and officer who shall be receiving the firearm(s).
    (2.) Firearms Submitted for Disposal. The State Police Firearms Identification Section shall receive firearms, turned in from a Firearms Surrender Program, for disposal from any law enforcement department in the state. The firearms shall be accompanied by an official department request as set forth in 515 CMR 3.06(3) and (4) and submitted as follows:
    a.) A copy of the request shall accompany the firearms to serve as a temporary receipt pending the final verification.
    b.) Prior to submission each firearm shall be tagged to correspond to the item number listed on the request.
    c.) No more than 25 firearms shall be submitted at any one time, unless by approval of the State Police Firearms Identification Section.
    (3.) Form of Official Department Request. A request by a law enforcement department for the disposal of firearms shall be on a form prescribed by the Colonel and shall:
    a.) Officially request disposal and be signed by the chief of the department or the equivalent of the department’s evidence/contraband officer;
    b.) Be signed by the officer responsible for submitting the firearms;
    c.) List each firearm with a description of the firearm that includes the caliber, manufacturer’s name, type or model, and serial number; and
    d.) Certify that a stolen record check has been completed through both LEAPS and NCIC on each firearm submitted, with negative results.
    (4.) Request Substitute. A court order authorizing the disposal or destruction of firearms may be used in lieu of an official department request.
    (5.) Immunity. Persons turning in firearms at the stated date, time and location, as arranged through the police department, shall not be asked for identification and shall be immune from prosecution for possession of such firearm(s) as set forth in G.L. c. 140, § 131O.

    Andrew Bettinelli
    Legislative Aide
    Office of State Senator William N. Brownsberger

  7. Kiril,

    Yes, I fully understand what the underlying goal of the gun buyback is. However, I’m of the mind that guns in the hands of law abiding citizens aren’t really problem. Further, I think those running the gun buyback ought to be a little more forthright about the underlying goal. I’m sure my opinion is in the minority here though.

    Will, you say “it would be inappropriate for a gun taken in a buyback to turn up in a crime”. If the gun were legally resold in MA (sold to an LTC holder, registered through the FA10 system, etc), there’s an exceedingly slim chance it’ll end up being used in a crime. I’ve spoke to many politicians about this issue and none could come up with an example of an FA10 registered gun showing up in a street crime. Further, my point wasn’t that a gun, taken in a buyback, should be resold.

    The point was that the person turning in the gun is getting a small fraction of its value and if the gun were owned legally, it’s seems a bit unethical to convince the person to give it up for such a small fraction of its value.

  8. Will, this is a waste of money which could be put into violence prevention and policing efforts. The DOJ has studied buybacks for years and concluded that they have no effect on crime. The guns being turned in at these events are, and the people turning them in, not typically involved in crime to begin with.

    While these buybacks are visible efforts to “do something” they effectively do nothing but siphon money away from other more effective endeavors.

  9. I am not sure you are asking constituents from outside Belmont about this. If so, I think all communities should initiate buy back programs.

  10. To Matthew, I agree that it is unlikely that a criminal will bring his or guns guns back to a buyback program. But at a minimum, taking unwanted guns out of homes reduces the probability of accident.

  11. II don’t see why a household concerned with the safety of an old unwanted firearm would not relinquish it to police for free or have a FFL sell it for consignment. It makes no sense to me why public money needs to be involved. If anything the state is losing potential sales tax revenue.

  12. Matthew,

    From the link Will provided, it sounds like this is privately funded. If it were funded with tax revenue, I’d hope that the efficacy of the program was proven. If it is private funding though, it’s up to them how they want to use their money.

  13. Interesting points about the market value vs. the buy-back program’s payment level. But another aspect of it is to get folks to think about having the gun in the house, and then realize there’s a place they could take it to get it out of the house, should they want to. A person who didn’t buy the gun in the first place might not be familiar with the market, and for that reason exactly, might be glad to know the police department will take it, with a token payment.

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