EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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May 12, 2013

Guns collected in buyback program

LAWRENCE — Handguns, rifles, shotguns and BB guns were turned over to police for destruction in the city’s “No questions asked” gun buyback program yesterday.

“The less guns we have on the street, the less negative things we will see happen,” said the Rev. Victor Jarvis, who with area clergy, Mayor William Lantigua and Police Chief John Romero supported the buyback program as part of a citywide peace initiative.

“This was a good opportunity for people who made a mistake to come back and correct it,” Jarvis added.

Six shotguns, including a sawed off shotgun, eight rifles, 13 handguns and three BB guns were turned over yesterday.

From noon to 8 p.m., people came by the senior center at 165 Haverhill St. to turn over guns they had. They would leave the weapons in the trunk of their cars and police officers would assist them. They were paid $50 to $150, depending on the type of weapon, for up to 3 weapons they turned over.

There was no payment for the BB guns, however, police said.

Those turning over guns were also given gift cards for Market Basket and Walgreens. In addition to police, local clergy and members of the Lawrence Youth Team were on hand yesterday.

No questions were asked and no one was asked for any identification. Lantigua said previously the event was scheduled the day before Mother’s Day as a way to honor mothers.

“Why not give a mother the best Mother’s Day gift ever; Peace of mind,” Lantigua said in a prepared statement posted on the city’s website.

Police were pleased with the results.

“We did pretty well,” Romero said. He explained that criminals don’t often bring guns to a buyback program and turn them in. However, people who have weapons in their homes “that could end up in the hands of a criminal” take advantage of the program, he said.

Some of the guns “had been in people’s homes for years,” he said. “They were in the house and they wanted to get rid of them.”

“These are guns that will never hurt anyone. They will be destroyed now,” Romero said.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.

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