PAWTUCKET — Thanks to Saturday's gun buyback program, there are now 17 fewer firearms on the city's streets.
According to Pawtucket Police Major Arthur Martins, the program, held at the police substation on Armistice Boulevard, netted eight handguns, six rifles and three other firearms that were deemed inoperable. He said the bulk of the firearms were of the “small caliber” variety, such as 22s, but there was a 12-gauge shotgun and a 32-caliber revolver among the inventory.
Those who turned in an “operable” handgun received a gift card with a value that ranged from $50 to $200, depending on the type of gun. Those with firearms considered inoperable did not receive the gift card.
“Any time people are turning in an unwanted firearm, that is considered a success,” said Martins. “This means that it doesn't get in the hands of an individual who shouldn't have it.”
Mayor Donald Grebien, who attended the buyback, said, “Getting unwanted guns out of our homes in a safe manner will keep them from doing any unintentional harm and also keep them off our streets. I was pleased to support City Councilors Al Vitali and Jean Philippe Barros in this initiative, along with our police department, which conducted Saturday's gun buyback in a thoroughly professional manner regarding the safe transfer and disposal of these firearms.”
The gun buy-back was the first that the city had held in about a decade. Vitali and Barros had approached local businesses to sponsor the event and help pay for the gift cards.