More than 260 guns are off the streets in Hartford and New Haven following two gun buyback events on Saturday.
Sue Wacht was one of the first people to take advantage of Saturday's gun buyback event in Hartford. She brought in a shotgun that she had bought for personal safety years ago.
"It has never been loaded. It has never been fired. It has been sitting in my house for 20 years. I just want to get rid of it and bring it back," she said.
Their mission is to get as many unwanted guns off the streets and potentially out of the hands of criminals.
"There’s a lot of violence in the city in regards to unwanted firearms, unsecured firearms, that are being placed in the wrong hands. We have a lot of residential burglaries in the city, sometimes guns disappear,” said Hartford Police Lt. Paul Cicero.
”Guns and other violent crimes are a small portion, but they are one of the biggest news items out there. We get worried and scared about massive, mass shooting events,” added Dr. David Shapiro, a trauma surgeon at St. Francis Hospital.
People who turned in a gun received up to a $200 Stop and Shop gift card, depending on the type of firearm. Police said some will be destroyed, while others may be auctioned off if they have a historical sigificance.
”We’re going to run the numbers on the firearms, find out firearm history and what not and we go from there, so every circumstance is different,” Lt. Cicero said.
Doctors said gun buybacks like this are crucial in curbing gun violence, but they're only a facet of a complicated, often politicized issue.
”Between healthcare, public policy, law enforcement and really social events, people working together, we have to meet in the middle. We’re never going to be a nation free of firearms. They are always going to be there, so we have to learn to have them safe, have them carefully attended to,” Dr. Shapiro added.
In total, officials said they collected 137 guns from the gun buyback in Hartford. They collected four assault rifles, 42 pistols, 46 revolvers, 19 rifles, 25 shotguns and one Derringer pistol.
Officials said this year's number is more than double last year's total of 68 weapons that were turned in. Over the last 10 years of doing buyback events in Hartford, officials said nearly 1,400 unwanted firearms have been turned in.
New Haven Police said in all, 125 operable firearms were turned in, including two AR-15s.
The guns will be destroyed, which means they will never be able to fall into the hands of children, suicidal people or criminals, police said.
The police safety team also gave out free gun locks and provided gun safety information to those who wanted it.
In all seven years of gun buyback events in New Haven, police said they have taken in over 800 guns.