DA Urges Participation in Goods for Guns

December 6, 2016

Dec. 6, 2016

For Immediate Release

Contact: Paul Jarvey (508) 368-7241

WORCESTER —Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. is urging people to take advantage of the 15th annual Goods for Guns program by turning in unwanted firearms on Saturday at participating police departments.

Nearly 3,000 guns have been turned in since 2002, when the program started in the City of Worcester. The program has expanded to other communities in recent years. Fitchburg, Leominster and Dudley are participating for the first time this year.

Those who turn in firearms will receive gift cards ($25 rifle, $50 pistol, $75 semiautomatic weapon). Free trigger locks are also available, and replica guns will be accepted. As in the past, Mr. Early will relax enforcement of the law prohibiting the carrying of firearms for people participating in the program. Residents should bring unloaded weapons in a plain paper bag. Ammunition will also be accepted, but should be separately bagged.  Participants are reminded to treat all firearms as though they are loaded and dangerous.

“Our goal is, and always has been, getting unwanted and unsecured guns out of the house,” Mr. Early said. “This has benefits on so many levels. Reducing accidents and tragedies in Worcester County benefits us all.”

Mr. Early praised Dr. Michael Hirsh, medical director of Worcester’s Division of Public Health and a pediatric trauma surgeon at UMass Memorial Hospital, for his continued gun safety advocacy and for starting the Goods for Guns program.

Goods for Guns is sponsored by the District Attorney’s Office and UMass Memorial Medical Center.

Firearms can be turned in at participating police departments between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday except where noted. Participating police departments are: Worcester, Southbridge, Leicester (9 a.m.-1 p.m.), Leominster, Barre, Fitchburg, Oxford (noon-4 p.m.), Dudley (9 a.m.-1 p.m.), Millbury, Grafton, Charlton (10 a.m.-2 p.m.), Spencer (11 a.m.-3 p.m.), Northbridge (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) and Webster (9 a.m.-noon). Northborough and Westborough are also participating, but guns in those towns should be brought to Worcester PD.

Mr. Early said he was pleased to see Goods for Guns to expand to new communities.

Area police chiefs said they were looking forward to being able to remove unwanted guns and make their communities safer.

“Anytime we in law enforcement can collaborate and remove unwanted firearms from potentially causing someone harm is a win for our entire community,” said Fitchburg Police Chief Ernest Martineau.

Leominster Police Chief Michael Goldman said, “We are proud and excited to offer this important service to our community.

“Our department is proud to be in our third year of participating in this program,” said Oxford Police Chief Michael Hassett. “It is a great way to dispose of unwanted guns in the home.”

“In 2015 Goods for Guns program, the Northbridge Police Department received a total of 30 unwanted firearms – 11 handguns and 19 rifles/shotguns were turned in by residents of our community,” Chief Walter Warchol said. “Unwanted and improperly stored firearms pose a significant safety issue for homeowners, and that is why the Northbridge Police Department supports the Goods for Guns program.”

“This is the second year the Webster Police Department has participated in the Goods for Guns Program,” Chief Timothy Bent said. “Last year we received over fifty unwanted firearms. Please consider joining us in an effort to make the Town of Webster safer.”

Southbridge Police Chief Shane Woodson said the program was so popular last year that his department ran out of gift cards. He has requested more for this year’s event.

“Unwanted guns in the home spell trouble,” Spencer Police Chief David Darrin said. “Do your part to keep kids safe, and turn them in.”

“Every unwanted firearm that is turned in could potentially save a life,” Millbury Police Chief Donald Desorcy said. “That life saved could possibly be yours. Begin the new year with safety first.”

Charlton Police Chief James Pervier said his department didn’t participate in the program in 2015, but is happy to be back this year. “Each gun that is turned in as part of this program is one less lethal instrument that could potentially injure or take the life of another person,” he said.

“It is a positive way to rid homes of unwanted firearms and ammunition,” Dudley Police Chief Steve Wojnar said. “This prevents injuries and reduces the opportunity for these weapons to find their way to unauthorized individuals.”

“Every gun taken off the street is one less gun that can be used to commit a crime or accidentally end up in the hands of a child,” Grafton Chief Normand Crepeau Jr. said. “The program may be considered a tremendous success if even only one life is saved.”

“This is a great way for individuals to remove unwanted firearms from their homes,” said acting Barre Police Chief James Sabourin. “It also affords individuals an opportunity to turn in illegal firearms with no repercussions.”