Boston Police to Hold ‘Guns For Gift Cards’ Event This Week Amid Continued Gun Violence but Questions Remain if Effective or Just Good PR

This week, on December 17, 2022, the Boston Police Department is holding an event called 2022 Boston Buy Back: Guns for Gift cards. The event entails that Boston residents who wish to turn in their guns will receive a $100 dollar gift card for the holiday season. All drop-offs are anonymous and there will be no questions asked guaranteed.

It is unclear why the amount is so low and why it has been decreased. A post on BPD News touts a $200 reward in 2014 with no explanation on why the lower amount now. Most major metropolitan areas including NYPD, LAPD Chicago PD and others offer $200-$500 however questions remain, does it actually accomplish any major impact.

Mark Anderson, a professor of economics at Montana State University, published a study with the National Bureau of Economic Research last year on the ineffectiveness of buyback events across the United States. The study cited research showing buybacks offer too little money, tend to take place in low-crime areas and collect firearms that tend to be older and less functional.

In an interview with another outlet Anderson said, “Who’s choosing to turn their gun in? It’s probably not the person on the margins whose gun we’re trying to get off the street. That gun from Grandpa is not the one that is going to be involved in a crime later on. It’s the voluntary nature of these things.” Ideally, local officials should offer at least $100 for rifles, $200 for small caliber revolvers, $400 for semi-automatics and $500 for assault weapons, he said.

A research paper published in 2018 by Harvard and Northeastern University professors studied the illicit sale of firearms in Boston and found that the lowest street price for a used, old and decaying revolver was roughly $200 in 2018. They also found the average price for a new, lightweight, semi-automatic pistol was roughly $1,100. Given inflation that number is now closer to $1,400. We asked the Boston Police why they only were offering a measly $100 but did not get a response to our request.

This event comes at a time when Boston is experiencing horrifying gun violence in many underserved and at risk neighborhoods. Just in the past few days, there have been multiple near-deadly shootings in a variety of neighborhoods and just last night a person was shot and killed in Roxbury. Many Boston residents are feeling uneasy about these recent events.

The December 17 Guns for Gift Cards event will be held at multiple locations from 10:00 hours to 16:00 hours:

– New Life Restoration Temple, 38-40 Centre Street, Codman Square, Dorchester

– Sacred Heart Church, 169 Cummins Square, Roslindale

– Salvation Army, 1500 Washington Street, Boston

– Central Assembly of God Church, 50 Bennington Street, East Boston

– Prince Hall Masonic Lodge, 24 Washington Street, Dorchester

– McCormack Housing Development, 345 Old Colony Avenue, South Boston

Anyone with questions about the Gun for Gift Card event is urged to call the Boston Police Department at 617-343-4827.