EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

December 17, 2012

Lantigua calls for gun buy-back program

As Lawrence comes together to remember victims, mayor looks to prevent tragedy here

LAWRENCE — During last night’s vigil to remember the 26 victims in last week’s Newtown, Conn. school massacre, Mayor William Lantigua announced plans for a gun buy-back program in this city, which is dealing with its own problems of violence.

“What happened in Newtown is more than a reason to join us in recovering weapons, so in a moment of passion, grief, or anger, people don’t commit such a heinous crime,” Lantigua said. He added, “We have to find a solution to prevent this tragedy from happening. Whatever I can offer, I’m more than ready to do so.”

Lawrence Police Chief John Romero is working with Lantigua on the logistics of the program. They have been in touch with the Haverhill Police Department, which recently had success with its own gun buy-back program. There, guns were brought to police and turned in with no questions asked. In exchange, the person received a $100 gift card for each weapon turned over.

Lantigua said some will argue the buy-back program means some may go unprosecuted for their crimes.

“Sometimes we don’t catch the criminal and don’t have the gun. But with this, at least we’d get the gun and it will not be used again,” Lantigua said.

Lantigua’s announcement was made during a prayer vigil at City Hall last night for the six adults and 20 boys and girls, all of whom were just 6 or 7 years old, killed at close by multiple rifle shots at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Authorities said the gunman, Adam Lanza, shot his mother four times in the head with a .22-caliber rifle and officials found her dead in bed, still in her pajamas. Lanza then went to the elementary school with guns he took from his mother’s house where he began the rampage. He then shot himself in the head when he heard police coming closer.

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