In the first four sessions, Bridgeport’s gun buy-back program has collected 394 weapons — including at least a dozen assault rifles– and paid out more than $44,000, said a City Hall spokeswoman.
Calling it the largest such program in the city’s history. Elaine Ficarra said that 97 weapons were taken in last Saturday, with nearly $11,000 paid out.
The buyback continues on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Police Department’s Community Services Division, 1395 Sylvan Avenue. It will continue every Saturday in January from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as needed.
More than $100,000, including $30,000 worth of gift cards from local grocer Food Bazaar, has been raised so far from the City, the Bridgeport Housing Authority, the City Council and numerous private sector donors – both individuals and business owners – to fund the program.
The police department has a “no questions asked” policy that will allow people to turn in weapons anonymously without fear of being prosecuted for illegal gun possession. BB guns and non-working guns will be accepted but will not be eligible to receive payment. Gun dealers are not eligible to participate.
The gun buyback fund is being administered by RYASAP, and Mayor Bill Finch urged members of the community to consider making a tax deductible donation to the fund so the gun buyback can continue. “Our goal is to take hundreds of guns off the street,” he said. Anyone wishing to donate can send a check to RYASAP Gun Buyback Fund, 2470 Fairfield Avenue, Bridgeport CT 06605.
People turning in weapons must follow a precise protocol.
- Firearms MUST be delivered unloaded;
- Firearms MUST be put in a clear plastic bag and put into another container (gym bag, backpack, etc);
- If depositing ammunition in addition to a firearm, ammunition must be delivered in separate bag;
- If transporting the firearm by car, the firearm must be transported in the trunk of the car;
- After the firearm is screened by officers and determined to be a working firearm, a turn-in value will be determined;
- Non-operational guns, antiques firearms, BB guns and holsters will be accepted but do not qualify for cash payout.