FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Police in two communities turned unwanted guns into groceries during their ‘Guns for Groceries’ events Saturday.
Firearms were collected at two locations; Blessed Trinity Church in Fall River and Pilgrim United Church of Christ in New Bedford.
The timing of the take back was no coincidence. With Thanksgiving around the corner, organizers thought what better time to incentivize people to turn in unwanted firearms by offering them grocery store gift cards.
After just thirty minutes, guns lined the tables at Blessed Trinity Church.
“The past couple of take-backs it’s been a little slow, this morning has been phenomenal,” Fall River Police Lt. Paul Bernier said.
Hunter and target shooter Andrew Alves has owned guns since he was a teenager.
He decided to turn in some firearms he wasn’t using anymore.
“I’ve always practiced safety, but I know that there are also a lot of guns that aren’t kept safe. I think is a great program to get those guns out of the house, especially if there are children in the house,” Alves said.
In exchange for firearms, people were given Market Basket gift cards along with coupons for free Domino’s pizza.
“It comes at a good time, like right before Thanksgiving. I think it’s awesome that way it doesn’t get in the hands of you know, kids, and you know, the wrong people,” Christine Buckley said.
Fall River Police have been holding gun buybacks since 1995.
Throughout the years they’ve collected more than three-thousand guns.
“Even one firearm that we successfully take off the street can make a difference. We’ll never know the ones that we collect whether they would ever be involved in a shooting. But by removing them from the street we take that possibility away, and we make the community that much more secure,” Lt. Bernier said.
If you missed the take-back day, but you have a firearm you want to get rid of you can call Fall River Police and turn it in any time, year round.