Officials in Hampshire and Franklin counties are taking steps to curb gun violence in the region. The area will be holding its first gun buyback program on Saturday.
Unloaded guns will be accepted with no questions asked at the Northampton and Greenfield police departments from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"It's really important that we get weapons out of homes - there can be an accidental death with a child, it can be stolen or it can be self-harm," said Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan.
Sullivan says officials decided to hold the program this year in part because of the growing interest by the public to do so.
"I think there were a number of groups - pediatric trauma surgeons, mothers, concerned citizens - that really after the Newtown tragedy really gained a better understanding of gun violence," said Sullivan.
Citizens will be given $50 gift cards for each handgun, rifle and shotgun turned in. Two $50 gift cards will be given for each assault weapon in working condition. Ammunition will also be accepted, though there will not be any payment.
"As a pediatric surgeon at Baystate, unfortunately we do see children that are accidentally shot - usually they are not the intended victim, but they can be collateral victims from violence. And [we] also we see a number of children that are playing with a gun and get shot themselves or shoot a family member," said Dr. Kevin Moriarty, the medical director of pediatric trauma and the chief of pediatric surgery at Baystate Medical Center.
The serial numbers on the guns will be reviewed and if a gun is found to be stolen it will be returned to its rightful owner. With exception to that, all of the guns collected will be destroyed.
Back in March a gun buyback was held in Hampden County. More than 300 guns were collected during that event.
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