US children aged between 5 years and 14 years have a rate of gun-related homicide 17 times higher and a rate of gun-related suicide and unintentional firearm injury 10 times higher than other developed countries. Gun buyback programs have been criticized as ineffective interventions in decreasing violence. The Injury Free Coalition for Kids-Worcester (IFCK-W) Goods for Guns buyback is a multipronged approach to address these concerns and to reduce the number of firearms in the community.
The IFCK-W buyback program is funded by corporate sponsors, grants, and individual donations. Citizens are instructed to transport guns, ammunition, and weapons safely to police headquarters on two Saturdays in December. Participants are guaranteed anonymity by the District Attorney's office and receive gift certificates for operable guns. Trained volunteers administer an anonymous survey to willing participants. Individuals who disclose having unsafely stored guns remaining at home receive educational counseling and trigger locks. Guns and ammunition are destroyed at a later time in a gun crushing ceremony.
Since 2002, 1,861 guns (444 rifle/shotgun, 738 pistol/revolver, and 679 automatic/semiautomatic) have been collected at a cost of $99,250 (average, $53/gun). Seven hundred ten people have surrendered firearms, 534 surveys have been administered, and ∼75 trigger locks have been distributed per year.
IFCK-W Goods for Guns is a relatively inexpensive injury prevention model program that removes unwanted firearms from homes, raises community awareness about gun safety, and provides high-risk individuals with trigger locks and educational counseling.
From the UMassMemorial Medical Center, Worcester, Massachusetts.
Submitted for publication March 15, 2011.
Accepted for publication September 28, 2011.
Supported by the Injury Free Coalition for Kids-Worcester, Wal-mart, Departments of Pediatrics, Surgery, and Emergency Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Address for reprints: Mariann Manno, MD, Department of Pediatrics/Division of Emergency Medicine, UMassMemorial Medical Center, University Campus, 55 Lake Ave North, Worcester MA 01605; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.