Gift cards offered to those who turn in unwanted guns and weapons
Police departments across the area participated in a statewide gun buyback program Saturday to help people get rid of unwanted guns in exchange for a gift card.
At the Stamford Police Headquarters, the gun buyback event was 100% anonymous and they also assisted people who were looking to secure their weapons.
Stamford police was one of just seven departments across the state that participated in the gun buyback event.
In just the first hour of the program, police collected several firearms including handguns, assault weapons and accessories.
"We much rather this be the main story of people doing the right thing turning guns in they don’t need anymore," said Stamford Police Chief Timothy Shaw.
Police inspected the weapons at the front door, then took participants to the community room where they received a gift card for turning in unwanted weapons.
Police also provided safes to anyone who legally owned firearms with proof of a permit.
They said no questions were asked to those who surrendered firearms.
Just a few miles away in Norwalk, several pistols and rifles were also turned over.
For some, the initiative hit close to home.
Organizer Peter Murchison lost his nephew in the Sandy Hook mass shooting.
"We know the trauma that's caused by a gun in the wrong person's hands," Murchison said. "I'm still angry when I see weapons like that so freely available on our streets but I'm happy with that whoever had it, made the decision, had the change of heart to say, 'this one doesn't belong in my environment' and to bring it back."
The potentially deadly weapons live a longer life once they're collected and converted into gardening tools that are then donated to community garden programs, according to Murchison.
Recent research shows gun buyback programs can have a role in curbing violence if they are part of a larger campaign to do so.