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Press Release

Mayors Elorza and Diossa announce joint gun buyback program

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We’re asking residents across Rhode Island to turn in their unwanted guns, no questions asked, and help us keep our community safe.


Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, Commissioner of Providence Public Safety Steven Paré, and Cedric Huntley, Executive Director of the Nonviolence Institute announced a gun buyback program on Thursday scheduled to happen on Saturday, October 17 at locations in both cities.

The gun buybacks will happen on Saturday, October 17 at The DaVinci Center, 470 Charles St, Providence and at the Knights of Columbus 20 Claremont Street, Central Falls from 9:00AM to 1:00PM.

“Gun violence is an ongoing public health issue across our country that has deeply impacted our families and our community,” said Mayor Elorza. “We know that when we remove a single gun off our streets, we may be saving one of our neighbor’s lives. We’re asking residents across Rhode Island to turn in their unwanted guns, no questions asked, and help us keep our community safe. I want to thank Mayor Diossa and our partners for their close collaboration and their help preventing future gun violence in our cities.”

The multi-city gun buyback program aims to encourage community members with unwanted firearms to turn them in, preventing future potential misuse or violence. Firearms will be accepted anonymously and with amnesty for possession; will not be tested for matches to ongoing cases; and will be destroyed at the end of the buy-back program.

“Central Falls has experienced the national health issue of gun violence,” said Mayor Diossa. “Central Falls will do its part to address this issue by asking the community to participate in the gun buyback program on October 17th from 9am to 1pm by bringing illegal or unwanted guns to the Knights of Columbus on Claremont Street in Central Falls. Please help us take steps in ensuring the issues with guns are cleared out of our streets and help us provide the quality of life that all residents deserve.”

Upon turn in, participants will receive a gift card of $100 for each rifle or shotgun; $200 for each handgun; and $500 for each firearm that has been previously reported stolen. Participants must follow the outlined steps to safely return a firearm:

  • Firearm must be delivered unloaded with no magazines in the weapon.
  • Firearm must be placed in a clear plastic bag and delivered in a non-see through container such as a pocket book, gym bag, backpack or suit case.
  • If turning in ammunition in addition to a firearm, the ammunition must also be placed in a clear plastic bag and delivered in a separate non-see through container such as a pocket book, gym bag, backpack or suit case. All magazines must be turned in unloaded and placed in the clear plastic bag and delivered in the non-see through container.
  • If turning in just ammunition, the ammunition must be placed in a clear plastic bag and delivered in a non-see through container such as a pocket book, gym bag, backpack or suit case. All magazines must be turned in unloaded and placed in the clear plastic bag and delivered in the non-see through container.
  • The firearm must be transported in the trunk of a car separate from the ammunition.

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Additionally, participants must wear a mask upon returning the firearm, maintain 6 feet of social distance and follow the latest health and safety COVID-19 guidelines.

“Our officers in the capital city have witnessed ongoing gun violence throughout their careers on a daily basis, working as Providence Police Officers,” said Commissioner Paré. “During these unprecedented times, in which public safety is paramount, this gun buy back event has the capability to remove dangerous weapons out of the hands of criminals. We will stop at nothing to ensure the safety of the citizens of Providence and will do our due diligence to make that possible.”

Over the past decade, Providence has successfully implemented community policing and collaborative strategies that have led to some of its safest years on record and the Elorza Administration has continued to support legislation in efforts to achieve comprehensive gun reform in Rhode Island. Specifically, the Administration supported legislation prohibiting incentives for teachers to carry firearms, limits on high capacity magazines heightened restrictions around gun ownership and building existing supports that protect all Rhode Islanders.

“It is on us as a community to do everything we can to protect the youth and families that are most impacted by gun violence,” said Nonviolence Institute Executive Director Huntley. “We need everyone who can participate to do so and to make our cities a safer place for us all.”

The launch of this program comes as the purchase of firearms nationally has increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. An estimated 2 million guns were purchased by Americans in the month of August, making it the fifth-highest month on record, according to an analysis of FBI data. Studies also indicate that the presence of a firearm within the home increases the risk of homicide in the home, death from firearm homicide, and death from a suicide. Handguns kept within a home also increase the likelihood of youth gun violence and all weapons should be securely locked when not in use.

Also speaking was Scott Lapham, director of the One Gun Gone project:

If participants wish to turn in a gun prior to the dates of the program, they can do so by calling the Providence Public Safety Department prior to entering the building to make the return. The Providence Public Safety Department encourages the anonymous return of guns at any point throughout the year. Those who not want to deliver the firearm to police headquarters but would like to arrange for a private pickup, please call (401) 243-6097 or e-mail gunamnesty@providenceri.com to schedule the pickup.