Gun Buyback in Falmouth Nets 206 Firearms
By: Michael C. Bailey
“I didn’t expect this many guns,” said Edward A. Dunne, acting chief of the Falmouth Police Department, as he stood before what he jokingly called “quite a few guns.”
“Quite a few” was in fact 206 rifles, shotguns, pistols varying makes and models, including a handful of black powder weapons, all of which were turned in Saturday during a “gun buyback” event hosted by the John Wesley United Methodist Church in cooperation with the Falmouth Police Department.
The buyback was conceived in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut, school shootings as a way for residents to safely dispose of unwanted firearms. Falmouth resident Tiffany Van Mooy was among the parishioners who presented the idea to the Reverend David V. Calhoun.
Dr. Calhoun worked with Chief Dunne to organize the buyback, but Dr. Calhoun credited Ms. Van Mooy as the driving force behind the event.
“What you see in front of you says it all. This makes our community much safer,” Chief Dunne said yesterday during a press conference, at which all 206 firearms were laid out. Most of the guns were fully functional, he said, and police checked the weapons’ serial numbers to determine if any were stolen—none of which were.
“What you see in front of you says it all. This makes our community much safer,” Chief Dunne said yesterday during a press conference, at which all 206 firearms were laid out.
A gun dealer will get to check out the firearms and purchase any that have significant value. The money from those transactions will go to the gun’s original owner. The remaining guns will be collected by the Massachusetts State Police to be destroyed.
The chief said by turning in these unwanted firearms in a safe and responsible manner, residents were circumventing the possibility of those weapons being stolen from their homes and used in criminal activities.
“We believe this is a win-win situation for our community,” Mr. Calhoun said.
“This says everything about the positive aspects of the Falmouth community,” Town Manager Julian M. Suso said.
Chief Dunne said he did not expect such a huge turnout, noting that the town of Yarmouth recently held a similar event that took in 75 firearms. Falmouth’s buyback, which ran from 10 AM until 3 PM Saturday, saw constant activity and at times lines of two dozen people waiting to drop off their guns. After the scheduled buyback ended, latecomers were directed to the Falmouth Police Department.
People who participated in the buyback received supermarket gift cards in exchange for their guns, and Mr. Calhoun said about $10,000 in gift cards were given out, exhausting the day’s supply. “We went through that rather fast,” he said.
Several people received IOUs for gift cards, and the church is in the process of raising an additional $3,000 to cover those back-owed gift cards. “We did not just tell people we’re done, we’re out of food cards, you have to go home. They showed the initiative to come forward to turn in their weapons, and we want to honor that.”
A second buyback is in the works for, tentatively, the spring, but the Falmouth Police Department is always available to accept unwanted firearms and ammunition at any time of the year. Chief Dunne said residents should call the department in advance to make arrangements, and in exchange for their unwanted guns, residents will receive a gift card from a local restaurant. So far Peking Palace, Pie in the Sky, Bangkok Cuisine, and Supreme Pizza have donated gift cards for that purpose.
Donations to offset the cost of the buyback may be made at jwumcfalmouth.org/FalmouthGunBuybackProgram or mailed to John Wesley United Methodist Church, PO Box 696, Falmouth, MA 02541. Checks should be made out to “John Wesley United Methodist Church - Falmouth Gun Buyback Program.”
To make arrangements to drop off a firearm or ammunition at the Falmouth Police Department, call ahead to 508-457-2527.
Earlier version of this article had the incorrect spelling of Tiffany Van Mooy as Tiffany Van Nooy corrected on 2/7/2013
Leave a Reply
In order to comment you need to be logged in.