NORWALK, Conn. – The Norwalk Police Department will conduct a gun buyback program on Feb. 2, but judging from reactions on Facebook many residents appear skeptical of its effectiveness in getting guns off the street.
Readers were asked whether they believe such initiatives work, and out of a dozen responses only a couple were positive.
“It’s a start and certainly better than doing nothing!” wrote Angi Ingalls-Designs.
“They do in the Bronx,” wrote Faith Webster. “It could only help, think of less guns on the streets.”
Linda Johnson disagreed. “Stupid. Criminals are not going to be turning their guns in.”
The department is conducting the buyback initiative with an anonymous donation of $5,026, which it received following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown in December. The Feb. 2 gun buyback is not the first time the department has tried such an effort, and in recent weeks Stamford has conducted a couple of gun buybacks and other municipalities in the region and the United States have considered similar programs.
“I think it’s a waste of time & resources,” wrote Ken Prince Jr. “Even if the money has been donated. Just makes it look like something’s being done.”
Under the program, the department will pay $50 for a rifle or shotgun, $75 for a handgun and $100 for an automatic or semiautomatic weapon. Payment will be made using Visa gift cards.
Even before the Sandy Hook tragedy, the Norwalk Police Department was trying to take a proactive approach to rid the city of gun violence. It recently launched a separate initiative with the United States Attorney’s Office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms to identify and arrest violent criminals in Norwalk.
The partnership is modeled on similar programs in Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport where a list of the city’s “worst of the worst” violent offenders are targeted to be taken off the streets.
That program is in its infancy and will be ongoing. Still, the reactions to the gun buyback remain skeptical.
“No,” wrote Marisol Leon Haynes about whether she thought the initiative could work. “Not when the only people bringing in guns are old timers trading in their muskets.”
Paul Juchniewich agreed, “Fools quest.”