The controversial gun buyback events in Providence and Central Falls were held Saturday as scheduled, but with some changes, after a local gun rights group was denied an injunction to halt the program.
Police said the day was a success, collecting 209 guns at the Providence location and 173 in Central Falls.
The event is based on everyone staying anonymous, no questions asked. People didn’t even need to give their names when turning in a gun. And by nine o’clock the line was long at the DaVinci Center in Providence.
“This isn’t about taking away guns from people that want to own guns. This is about taking guns that have no use or value in a community where you can go and dispose of them,” Providence Police Commissioner Steven Pare said.
Once inside, Providence Police did not write down any personal information — just serial numbers.
Providence Police Commissioner Pare oversaw his city’s event — explaining how just the day before they decided not to destroy all guns. Instead, they’d keep the ones that ballistics testing found were involved in serious crimes.
“That’s not going to solve a crime. That’s just going to be evidence if we determine that it was used in a crime,” Pare said.
The Providence Police Union released a statement saying in part quote “We can all sleep a little better knowing the guns will be properly checked and only destroyed if need be or turned over as part of evidence in an investigation.”
The two cities offered a $200 Visa gift card for handguns, $100 gift cards for rifles and shotguns, and $500 if the firearm was an assault rifle or came back as stolen.
The giftcards were funded by the nonprofit organization One Gun Gone — and not by taxpayer dollars.
Police said you can turn in an unused or unwanted gun from your home anytime to the police station, but you’re asked to call ahead before walking in with a gun.