05/01/2013 // Hartford, CT, USA // cttriallawyers // Neil Ferstand // (press release)
(Hartford, CT) – In an effort to step up awareness about gun violence prevention in the Capitol City region, the area’s three major hospitals, law enforcement officials and community supporters have formed the Capitol Region Gun BuyBack coalition.
This unique collaboration, which started several years ago, is now expanding to include faith-based groups, the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association, Stop & Shop, and other Hartford-area community organizations.
Its first action will be a special gun buyback on Saturday, May 18, 2013, 9 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the Community Renewal Team of Greater Hartford, 555 Windsor Street, Hartford. Food gift cards will be given to those turning in firearms and gun owners who want to remain anonymous can also bring in firearms.
A smaller portion of the group has held an annual buyback for the last several years, but the recent spate of incidents involving gun violence has prompted it to expand and to take more action in the form of greater awareness of gun safety and sponsor more gun buybacks.
The group includes Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Hartford Hospital, and Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. They have worked with the City of Hartford, Hartford Police Department, the Hartford State’s Attorney’s Office and the Community Renewal Team of Greater Hartford.
A new partner, the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association, joined in the cause and donated $10,000 to make possible this second voluntary turn in. Stop & Shop grocery store also signed on as a supporter and is offering a discount on purchases of the gift cards. Other contributors to and supporters of the Capitol Region Gun Buyback include Emergency Nurses Association of Connecticut, the Injury Free Coalition for Kids, Mother’s United Against Violence, UConn Health Center; American Academy of Pediatrics CT Chapter; Connecticut Public Health Association (CPHA); Connecticut Against Gun Violence (CAGV); March for Change; Connecticut Association of Directors of Health (CADH); Injury Free Coalition for Kids.
“We are growing from a small collaborative, community-based public health intervention to a wide regional force that can help the entire Hartford region become MORE committed to this cause,” said Brendan Campbell, MD, of Connecticut Children’s.
“The effort between Hartford’s three trauma centers, and City and State officials, with the added support of our local businesses community, will enable us to strengthen our focus on the removal of unwanted firearms from Connecticut homes so that they cannot be stolen by a criminal or found by a child,” said David Shapiro, MD, of Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center.
“We welcome our new partners, the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association and Stop & Shop, which has offered the partnership a five-percent discount on our purchase of gift cards, to the Capitol Region Gun Buyback Program. With their support, and the continued collaboration amongst all our partners, we anticipate even greater success for the Capitol Region Gun Buyback Program and for the citizens of Connecticut,” said both Dr. Campbell and Dr. Shapiro, who have organized the Hartford area buyback for several years.
“The trial attorneys of Connecticut welcome this opportunity to work hand in hand with the Capitol Region Gun Buyback Program in an effort to remove weapons from the streets of Hartford, and to promote the safety and welfare of all members of our community,” said Michael J. Walsh, president of the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association.
This year the Capitol Region Gun Buyback Program will provide Stop and Shop gift cards to individuals who turned in operable firearms. The program will offer a $150 gift card for an assault rifle, $75.00 gift card for a handgun/revolver, and a $25 gift card a shotgun or rifle. Firearms will be accepted anonymously.
All guns received are destroyed unless forensic testing confirms they have been used in the commission of a crime. Non-working guns, black-powder weapons, BB guns, flare guns, and ammunition could be turned in; however, they are not eligible for a gift card.
“We want our community to be safe,’ said Lenworth Jacobs, MD, former Director of Trauma and Emergency Medicine, Hartford Hospital. “We want to make sure our children can play safely outside without fear of hearing gunshots or being accidentally hit by a stray bullet,” he added.
“If guns could speak, one can only wonder what stories they could tell about what they have done in the past or what they could do in the future,” said William Marshall, DO, Director of Trauma, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. “Ridding our streets of guns is a crucial part of our effort to make neighborhoods safer for everyone.”
The last gun buyback, which was held December 1, 2012, brought in 181 working firearms, including 148 handguns. Over $10,000 in gift cards were given to those who turned in unwanted firearms.
“On behalf of Mothers United Against Violence I commend the members of the Capitol Regional Gun Buy Back Program not only on its past efforts at removing firearms from our streets, but or their leadership in bringing together a new, collaborative partnership, dedicated to the removal of guns from our neighborhoods. We are proud to stand with this new public, private and community coalition, and welcome our new partners in our fight against gun violence in our neighborhoods,” said Reverend Henry Brown, spokesman for the Mothers United Against Violence.
Chief James C. Rovella, of the Hartford Police Department, praised the new organizing effort and work to take guns off streets in the Capitol region.
“As Chief of the Hartford Police Department, and former Chief Inspector with Office of the Chief State’s Attorney, I commend Hartford and Saint Francis Hospitals and the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center for their leadership and thank the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association and Stop & Shop for their support of the Capitol Region Gun Buyback Program,” he said.
“Gun violence is a serious public health issue that impacts every community in our state. I believe broad-based coalitions such as the Capitol Region Gun Buyback Program are how we can impact and achieve long lasting change to a culture of violence,” the chief added.
Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center
CT Trial Lawyers Assoc.
Hartford Police Dept.
Address: 150 Trumbull Street
Phone: 860 522-4345