NORWALK, Conn. – A few Norwalk residents have contacted the Norwalk Police Department in advance of Saturday’s gun buyback program and are prepared to turn in weapons, according to Lt. Praveen John.
The buyback initiative, established with an anonymous donation of $5,026, is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will be administered by John and Sgt. Lisa Cotto. People who turn in working guns will be given Visa gift cards of $50 (rifles and shotguns), $75 (handguns) or $100 (automatic and semiautomatic assault guns).
“So far, three people have contacted us that they won’t be able to make it on Saturday but they want to turn in guns later,” said John. “We’ll make arrangements with them.”
Stamford police recently conducted a gun buyback program and netted 56 guns over a four-day period.
People who bring in guns during the Norwalk program will be asked to sign a waiver to receive their gift card. The waiver says they give up the rights to the gun, which will be destroyed by the state.
John did not have any estimates of how many people might participate in the buyback program, but he expects some may be older residents who have had guns in their homes for years and no longer want or need them.
“God forbid their home gets burglarized and the gun ends up in the wrong hands,” John said. “That’s the kind of thing we’re hoping to avoid.”
Despite the program’s good intentions, it is not without controversy, as many residents on Facebook and in comments to stories on The Norwalk Daily Voice have questioned its effectiveness.
“No one who has purchased a firearm legally would turn them in for that amount of money,” wrote one reader. “Now for the people who stole them, yeah it is free money.”
All the guns being turned in must be unloaded and bagged or boxed. They should be in working condition; guns that are considered junk will be accepted but will not be eligible for reimbursement.
Additionally, the guns should be transported to police headquarters in the trunk of a car, and ammunition should be brought in a separate bag or box.
Only individuals are eligible for the program, not businesses, according to the department. People bringing guns are asked to park in the department’s visitors parking lot and use the side entrance to the Community Room on South Main Street.