AB Cares to host Safer Homes, Safer Community: A Community Gun Buyback program

AB Cares to host Safer Homes, Safer Community: A Community Gun Buyback program to be held Saturday, May 21st, 2022

Acton-Boxborough, Mass. – May 1, 2022 - AB Cares is once again partnering with the Acton and Boxborough Police Departments and the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office to host a gun buyback initiative on Saturday, May 21st at the St. Matthew’s Methodist Church located at 435 Central Street in Acton. The event will run from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Individuals turning in unwanted firearms are asked to transport them to the site unloaded and in the trunk of their car. Ammunition will be accepted as well. No ID required, no questions asked - and each person turning in a firearm will have the option of receiving a gift card to a local grocery store. All firearms and ammunition will be handled by the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office and will be destroyed by the Massachusetts State Police.

This event was first held in 2021. While it was our community’s first gun buyback, the results exceeded our expectations, and those of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office. We collected a total of 34 firearms and an assortment of ammunition last year. Many of those who turned in firearms expressed deep gratitude for the opportunity to do so in a safe manner. In addition, most participants opted to “pay it forward” and donate their grocery gift cards to low-income residents of Acton and Boxborough, allowing us to not only take a step towards improving the safety of our community but help needy residents at the same time.

Gun violence is a leading cause of premature death in the U.S., causing more than 38,000 deaths and nearly 85,000 injuries each year. Gun violence is an epidemic, and public health measures such as gun buyback programs are necessary steps to help address this crisis. “This event is incredibly timely; we know that mental health across the lifespan has suffered as a result of the pandemic; in fact, some now refer to the “dual pandemic” of suicide and COVID-19. AB Cares is committed to suicide prevention, and helping reduce the risk of suicide by firearms is a good place to start,” said Deborah Garfield, LICSW Director of The Eliot Center and member of the AB Cares coalition.

“We know that nearly 6 out of every 10 gun deaths in Massachusetts are suicides, and firearm is the most lethal mean of suicide, with 22% of all suicides by firearm 1 . This event will provide residents the opportunity to safely, securely dispose of unwanted and unused firearms to make our homes and our communities safer by reducing the chance of accidental discharge, self-harm, and theft,” said Katie Neville, Acton-Boxborough United Way Communications Manager, and member of the AB Cares coalition.

“This event will allow individuals to discard unwanted firearms in a simple, non-judgmental way. It is a tremendous public safety initiative that could prevent unwanted guns from ending up in the hands of someone that may wish to do harm to themselves or others,” said Acton Police Sargent Scott Krug, member of AB Cares.

“The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office is glad to be assisting the Acton-Boxborough community and our law enforcement partners in this effort for a second year,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.  “Providing residents the opportunity to safely, securely dispose of unwanted firearms makes our homes and our communities safer by reducing the chance of theft, self-harm and accidental discharge.”

The initiative is funded through the generosity of numerous organizations including Acton-Boxborough United Way, Danny’s Place Youth Services, Minuteman Senior Services, Eliot Community Human Services, West Acton Baptist Church, Acton-Boxborough Regional School District and the towns of Acton and
Boxborough. Many local organizations have also stepped up to support this event as partners, including the Acton and Boxborough Police Departments, the League of Women Voters – Acton Area, the Acton Council on Aging, NAMI Central Middlesex, the Boxborough Well-Being Committee, and St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church.

AB Cares, a community-based collaborative, seeks to prevent suicide across the lifespan and support all who are impacted by suicide. AB Cares aims to support community-wide conversations, awareness, and connections across Acton and Boxborough in order to prevent suicide.

For more information, visit bit.ly/ABcares, or contact the AB Cares coalition at abcarescoalition@gmail.com or Katie Neville at 978-263-1777.