Sunday, April 21, 2024

From Many Helping Hands 365, June 1: Led by interfaith-based organizations, the Cambridge nonprofit community and regional partners are teaming up and introducing a citywide “Safer Homes, Safer Community: Gift Cards for Guns” firearms buyback from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 13.

This public health and public safety event will provide residents with an opportunity to dispose of their unwanted firearms anonymously and safely and reduce the potential for an accidental discharge or wrongdoing in a home.

“Unwanted and unsecure guns in homes can pose a serious risk to children, people with mental illness and those at risk from domestic violence,” said Lori Lander, founding organizer of Many Helping Hands and an organizer of the buyback. “Gift Cards for Guns is an important initiative that we hope will lead to safer homes and a safer community.”

Drop-off locations will provide a safe, convenient way for participants to drop off unwanted guns with no questions asked and no ID required. The drop-off locations are:

bullet-gray-small Greater Boston Vineyard Church, 170 Rindge Ave., North Cambridge
Drop-off: Parking lot in front of the church

bullet-gray-small Pentecostal Tabernacle, 77 Columbia St., near Central Square
Drop off: Church parking lot

Cambridge Police and the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office will be on-site and handling the guns turned in, and State Police will destroy the guns. As an incentive to participate, residents get gift cards for each firearm they turn in, including a $200 gift card for an assault weapon; $100 gift card for a revolver, handgun, semi-automatic, shotgun or rifle; and a $50 gift card for a BB Gun, pellet gun or ammunition.

Police will also be available to pick up firearms at a Cambridge homes if interested participants are not able to drop them off or have concerns. To schedule a pickup, call (617) 349-3300. Gift cards will be honored if pickups are scheduled during the week leading up to June 13.

“It takes only one gun incident to result in tragedy,” said Claude Jacob, the city’s chief public health officer and director of its Public Health Department. “Study after study shows that guns in the house can put family members in harm’s way.”

Access to firearms in the home is associated with risk for suicide and being the victim of a domestic violence homicide.

“More than 19,000 people commit suicide with guns each year, and another 16,000 are injured in unintentional shootings. Providing residents with a way to safely dispose of unwanted firearms makes our homes and communities safer,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian, whose office has participated in gun buybacks in six towns since 2013, helping Arlington, Belmont, Burlington, Melrose, Somerville and Waltham collect and dispose of more than 200 unwanted firearms.

For information on Cambridge’s Gift Cards for Guns, click here. If you or your organization is interested in becoming involved in the event (for example, donating gift cards, volunteering at the event or helping post fliers advertising it), send email here.

The following Cambridge interfaith organizations and community partners are collaborating on the initiative: Abundant Life Church, A Place to Heal Ministry, Cambridgeport Baptist Church, Cambridge Community Fellowship Church, Congregation Eitz Chayim, Christ Church, First Church in Cambridge Congregational, First Holiness Church, Islamic Society of Boston in Cambridge, Journey Church, Pentecostal Tabernacle, Rush AME Zion Church, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Temple Beth Shalom, Union Baptist Church, Greater Boston Vineyard Church, Cambridge Community Arts Center, Cambridge Community Foundation, Cambridge Community Center, Cambridge Peace Commission, East End House, Many Helping Hands, Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House, Harvard Square Business Association, the Cambridge Police Department, Cambridge Public Health Department, Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, Massachusetts State Police and more.