As part of a long-term effort to combat violence in the City of Boston, last week Mayor Martin Walsh launched The Piece for Peace Program, a new gun buyback program.
In exchange for a $200 Visa gift card, residents can now turn in their working handguns to designated spots around Boston. Even if a resident turns in a gun that was unlawfully obtained or possessed, they will not be questioned or prosecuted. Each weapon will be tested to ensure it was not used or suspected in a crime, and if they are cleared, they will be destroyed.
This buyback program currently has $125,000 in donations from the Boston Police Athletic League, the City of Boston Credit Union and the Boston Police Runners Club. As long as the program is within its budget and donations persist, the program will continue.
Since the program started last week, 75 guns have been taken off the street, according to the Boston Police Department. Over the next couple of weeks, Boston Police Department Commissioner William Evans said the program is aiming to collect around 1,000 guns.
The Piece for Peace Program is a good way to finally get the ball rolling on gun control in the City of Boston. In theory, it will help people feel safer by knowing 75 handguns have been taken off the streets of Boston in the last week. Although relative to the amount of guns that most likely exist in Boston, both legally and illegally — it is still 75 less guns nonetheless.
The program gives us a chance to see visible and tangible results in the effort to combat gun violence in the city. Now residents of Boston have a material way to account for the amount of guns that aren’t being used, rather than the ones that are.
However, in reality, this program will not do much to stop people from using guns. Although dozens of people have returned their guns through this program — some obtained illegally — they still found a way to get them in the first place. Although they may not be the ones looking to buy them again after handing them in, the fact that they had them still proves that obtaining these guns is possible without authorities finding out.
Additionally, although people know they won’t be prosecuted for handing in an unlawfully obtained gun, no one will want to turn in a gun that they have used in a crime or are planning on using in a crime. This program is reliant on people being honorable and trustworthy in their actions, and when it comes to the issue of guns, “trust” is hard to come by.
Although the Piece for Peace Program has honorable intentions, it won’t do much more than rewarding people for giving up the guns they no longer plan on using. This program would be more effective if the police department were more active in getting assault rifles and AK-47’s off the street, rather than just helping remove the clutter of guns from people’s basements.