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To reduce gun crime, 10 Maine police departments participate in gun giveback program

Maine’s last gun giveback day, in 2019 saw 500 guns and 10,000 rounds of ammunition turned in.
Maine’s last gun giveback day, in 2019 saw 500 guns and 10,000 rounds of ammunition turned in.(WMTW)
Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 8:06 AM EDT
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PORTLAND, Maine (WMTW) - The idea behind Maine’s gun giveback program, organized by the Maine Gun Safety Coalition, is to reduce potential gun crime by destroying anyone’s unwanted guns – no questions asked. ”We’re not taking your name. We’re not taking your plate number down,” Falmouth police Chief John Kilbride said in an interview on Thursday previewing this year’s program, which is scheduled to launch June 11.

The approach is modeled on drug take-back programs that have grown throughout the opioid epidemic.

”So, this is along the same lines,” Kilbride said. “What do I do with these guns? I don’t want to sell them. I don’t want them in the hands of people who could have ill intent with them. I have all this old ammunition. What do I do with it?’”

Kilbride displayed the types of guns he’s received before - shotguns, long guns, and handguns - working and non-functioning.

Besides Falmouth, police in Kennebunk, Saco, Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth, Yarmouth, Brunswick, Bath, Topsham, and Waterville will accept guns.

Maine’s last gun giveback day, in 2019 saw 500 guns and 10,000 rounds of ammunition turned in. ”So, there’s obviously a public need for this,” Maine Gun Safety Coalition Executive Director Geoff Bickford said in an interview on Thursday.

He described the process as a responsible and legal way for people to dispose of guns that might be laying around their homes.

”Maybe someone’s given up hunting? Maybe this was handed down from a relative that passed away?” Bickford said. “It’s one less gun that may be picked up by a teenager that’s suffering from some crisis, acts impulsively.”Kilbride said, “If one gun is unwanted, and it’s out of the house, that’s good enough for me.”

Guns will be cut to pieces on site, with the smelted metal later turned into bracelets and watches.

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