PA Bill Number: HB55
Title: A Joint Resolution proposing separate and distinct amendments to the Constitution of Pennsylvania, in declaration of rights, providing for ...
Description: A Joint Resolution proposing separate and distinct amendments to the Constitution of Pennsylvania, in declaration of rights, providing for ...
Last Action: Laid on the table
Last Action Date: Jan 13, 2021
Judge denies injunction to stop gun buybacks :: 10/17/2020
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WJAR) — Gun buyback events in Providence and Central Falls will go on Saturday after a judge denied an injunction to stop them.
The Second Amendment Coalition requested to stop the buybacks, saying criminals were getting a clean slate because the guns weren't going to be tested for connections to crimes.
"You can't send the message out that any firearm that might've been used in a homicide or in a crime, the evidence was going to be destroyed," said Frank Saccoccio of the Rhode Island Second Amendment Coalition. "It's one of the key components if you're trying to prove a case to say that particular firearm is the one that discharged the round that ended up hurting somebody."
The program is aimed at getting guns off the street. Anyone who turns in a weapon can do so anonymously and with amnesty.
"We have to stop our children from killing each other," said Cedric Huntley, interim director of the Nonviolence Institute in Providence. "One gun off the street is one less person handling a gun or mishandling a gun."
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said anyone who turns in a gun will receive a gift card in exchange. Gift cards range from $100 for each rifle or shotgun, $200 for each handgun or $500 for each gun that's previously been reported stolen, with no questions asked.
When first announced, Elorza said all guns turned in would be destroyed without being tested for matches to ongoing cases, despite a recommendation from the Attorney General's Office to do so.
"The practice of destroying guns without testing them has been used for previous city-hosted gun buyback programs," a spokesperson for Elorza told NBC 10 News on Tuesday. "It has helped increase participation in the program, but more importantly is used by our city and successful programs across the country because if we forensically tie a gun to a crime that was voluntarily turned in, we still won't know where it came from, who used the gun in a crime, etc, making for no investigative or evidentiary value to the criminal investigation. The risk in doing ballistics may result in nobody wanting to bring in guns out of fear of repercussions."
On Thursday, Providence City Council members passed a resolution calling on the city to test every weapon received or cancel the program altogether.
"I don't think it's very compassionate for those who have lost a loved one or family member to gun violence," Councilman David Salvatore told NBC 10 Friday.
On Friday, Providence police changed course and said they will run ballistics tracing on every gun that is turned in.
"Our officers in the capital city have witnessed ongoing gun violence throughout their careers on a daily basis, working as Providence Police Officers," said Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare. "During these unprecedented times, in which public safety is paramount, this gun buyback 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."
Supporters say it's up to the community to work together to stop the ongoing violence. According to FBI data, roughly 2-million guns were purchased in August, making it the fifth-highest month on record.
"We see families hurting every single day and re-living trauma every single day," Huntley said. "It's a public health issue."
The event is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 17 at the DaVinci Center at 470 Charles Street in Providence and at the Knights of Columbus at 20 Claremont Street in Central Falls from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.