Police departments in Worcester and seven other Worcester municipalities are taking part in the annual gun buyback program Dec. 10 as part of a collaborative initiative to reduce the number of firearms in the community.
Residents can anonymously drop off firearms in exchange for grocery gift cards. The guns must be unloaded and wrapped up or in a bag. Residents also do not need to provide weapon information.
A rifle can be exchanged for a $50 gift card, a pistol for an $100 gift card and an automatic or semiautomatic weapon for an $150 gift card.
Weapons collected as part of the program have been used to craft garden tools by New England blacksmiths. Medical students have used those tools to propagate a community garden and donate the harvest to local food banks and homeless shelters. Last year, 116 firearms were collected.
Nonoperable guns, ammunition and firearm accessories are also accepted but cannot be exchanged for a gift card.
The program is a collaborative effort between the city, UMass Memorial Medical Center, the Worcester County District Attorney's Office, Worcester Police Department and the Worcester Department of Public Health.
Guns can be turned in at the following sites or by appointment at a resident's address:
Worcester Police Department from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 9 Lincoln Square
Athol Police Department from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 280 Exchange St.
Auburn Police Department from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 416 Oxford St. North
Dudley Police Department from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 71 West Main St.
Fitchburg Police Department from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 20 Elm St.
Leominster Police Department from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., 29 Church St.
Northborough Police Department from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 211 Main St.
Spencer Police Department from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 9 West Main St.
City Welding and Sheet Metal Fabrication from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 10 Ararat St., Worcester
This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: Gun buyback program returns to Worcester, region December 10