City officials today announced a gun buyback plan that will trade a $200 Visa gift card for every gun turned into Boston police stations as part of an effort to curb youth violence this summer.
At a press conference at Dr. Loesch Family Park (formerly Wainwright Park), Mayor Walsh, Police Commissioner William Evans, local clergy and parents of murder victims said that while the effort by itself is not enough to eliminate violence, it's a good first step.
Evans said every gun off the street is one less chance of somebody getting killed. He pointed to last month's death of a 9-year-old at the hands of his brother fooling around with a gun as an example.
Although police will accept guns from anybody, no questions asked, Walsh said officials hope to go well beyond guns that had been sitting in somebody's basement for decades. Clergy and city street workers will press hard to convince teens and other people to turn guns in - police will even offer pick-up service for people who don't want to walk around with a gun on the way to the nearest police station.
Walsh added he is pressing local companies to provide both summer and permanent jobs to help kids find an alternative to violence.
Tina Chery, whose son, Louis Brown, was shot to death in 1993, said parents have to help, even if that means getting a little tough. Kid has a lock on his door? "Take that lock off the door" and make sure nothing illegal is hidden there, she said.
Walsh said the estimated $100,000 cost of the program will be picked up by private donors. He and Walsh said several groups, including the Police Athletic League, have already committed donations.
Evans added that even before the press conference, people had turned in five guns.