ORLEANS — The police dept. holds its 2022 Gun Buyback Program on Saturday, Aug. 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Residents can exchange their firearms at the police station for a gift card to Stop & Shop, the value of which depends on the type of firearm.
Gun safety is the goal of the program. According to the event announcement, the police hope the exchange will reduce the risk of accidents, gun theft, domestic violence, and suicide. Although Massachusetts has one of the lowest gun violence rates in the nation, 57 percent of gun deaths in the state are suicides, according to the most recent data from the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions.
Police Sgt. Daniel Elliott said the buyback is made possible by a donation from a town resident who wishes to remain anonymous. A $50 gift card will be given for each functional handgun, rifle, or shotgun, and a $100 gift card for a semi-automatic weapon.
The Orleans police have had gun buyback events in the past that were successful, said Elliott. Those were smaller events, though, he said, guessing the turnout at fewer than 20 people. This Saturday, “we will buy back as many guns as we have money available,” he said.
Since the purpose of the event is to dispose of unwanted guns, it’s a “no questions asked” event, said Elliott. Beyond asking that people transport and turn in firearms in a certain way, there are no other conditions.
Firearms should be brought to the department in a bag, box, or case if possible. They should be unloaded and have the safety engaged. On arriving at the department, at 99 Eldredge Parkway, those returning guns should check in, leaving the firearms in the trunk of their vehicle. Ammunition should be in a bag separate from the firearm.
Although BB guns, air guns, and ammunition don’t qualify for gift cards, they can still be turned in. After the event, the police will turn all firearms and ammunition over to the Mass. State Police to be safely destroyed. Although no questions are asked about licenses, said Elliott, serial numbers are run before the firearms are destroyed.
In Orleans, a town with a population that skews older, most weapons that Elliots has seen turned in are old rifles and shotguns, often deposited by someone whose significant other is no longer alive, or someone clearing out a relative’s house.
Nothing “really interesting” and “no machine guns” have been turned in, Elliott said.