PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The cities of Providence and Central Falls are offering gift cards in exchange for unwanted guns, with those who turn in a stolen gun eligible for $500.
The new gun buyback program will be privately funded through donations, Mayor Jorge Elorza said at a news conference Thursday afternoon. The organization One Gun Gone — which makes art out of guns removed from the streets — donated $10,000, according to Elorza’s press secretary.
The gun buyback will be anonymous, “without questions or consequence from authorities,” Elorza said.
“We simply want to get these guns off the streets so not a single one of them is used in another crime,” he said.
The mayor pointed to the 85 guns that recently made their way onto the street after police allege a Providence man purchased them at various gun stores and sold them, falsely reporting them stolen from his basement.
“He knew they were going to be used as crime weapons,” Elorza said.
The gun buyback will provide a $100 Visa gift card for a rifle or shotgun, $200 for a handgun and $500 for a firearm that has been reported stolen. The firearms will be destroyed.
Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré said the program is aimed at preventing both gun violence and suicides.
“That gun will be out of our community, forever destroyed, never to be used for any purpose again,” Paré said.
People can bring their unwanted guns to two locations on Saturday, Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at either the DaVinci Center in Providence or the Knights of Columbus in Central Falls. Those who cannot make it on that day can email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time to surrender a gun.
Instructions provided by the city of Providence for safely surrendering guns are below:
- Firearm must be delivered unloaded with no magazines in the weapon.-
- Firearm must be placed in a clear plastic bag and delivered in a non-see through container such as a pocket book, gym bag, backpack or suitcase.
- If turning in ammunition in addition to a firearm, the ammunition must also be placed in a clear plastic bag and delivered in a separate non-see through container such as a pocket book, gym bag, backpack or suitcase. All magazines must be turned in unloaded and placed in the clear plastic bag and delivered in the non-see through container.
- If turning in just ammunition, the ammunition must be placed in a clear plastic bag and delivered in a non-see through container such as a pocket book, gym bag, backpack or suitcase. All magazines must be turned in unloaded and placed in the clear plastic bag and delivered in the non-see through container.
- The firearm must be transported in the trunk of a car separate from the ammunition.
Additionally, participants must wear a mask upon returning the firearm, maintain 6 feet of social distance and follow the latest health and safety COVID-19 guidelines.