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9/16/2015 - SATURDAY: Mayor Finch, Police Chief Gaudett Announce Gun Buyback

“Our Gun Buyback program has proven to be successful, taking in more than 1,200 guns since we initiated the program years ago.” -- Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch

  • WHO: Mayor Finch, Police Chief Gaudett, police officers.
  • WHAT: Latest installment of Bridgeport’s Gun Buyback program.
  • WHEN: Saturday, September 19, 2015, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • WHERE: Police Department Community Services Division (1395 Sylvan Ave., Bridgeport, Conn.)

Bridgeport, Conn. (September 16, 2015) -- Today, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and Police Chief Joseph Gaudett Jr. announced the next installment of Bridgeport’s successful Gun Buyback program.

The next Gun Buyback will take place on Saturday, September 19, 2015.

The last installment of the Gun Buyback program -- which was held on August 22, 2015 -- took in more than 125 firearms.

“Taking action against gun violence – and the use or trafficking of illegal guns – has always been, and remains, a top priority for me and my administration,” said Mayor Finch.

“Our Gun Buyback program has proven to be successful, taking in more than 1,200 guns since we initiated the program years ago. Guns that are purchased as part of this program can never be used to hurt or kill ever again. I strongly believe that this effort has saved lives and has made Bridgeport a safer place for kids and families. Even if this program saves one life, it is money well spent.”

More than 1,200 guns have been taken of the streets through Bridgeport's Gun Buyback program, which was originally launched in 2012.

The current goal of the program is to take more than 1,000 additional guns off of our streets.

As part of the program, the Bridgeport Police Department will offer up to $200 for a working handgun. People turning in rifles will receive up to $100.

A weapon determined to be an assault rifle will be eligible for up to $400.

“Every gun that is turned in is a gun that won’t end up on the street in the hands of a criminal or in the hands of a child who could accidentally injure himself or someone else,” said Police Chief Gaudett.

“The police department works hard every day to keep our kids and families safe. This is another tool that helps keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.”

For the Gun Buyback program, people turning in weapons must follow a precise protocol:

  • Firearms MUST be delivered unloaded;
  • Firearms MUST be put in a clear plastic bag and put into another container (gym bag, backpack, etc);
  • If depositing ammunition in addition to a firearm, ammunition must be delivered in separate bag;
  • If transporting the firearm by car, the firearm must be transported in the trunk of the car;
  • After the firearm is screened by officers and determined to be a working firearm, cash will be given.

“These are not hunting rifles. These are weapons of war. They are specifically designed to kill and maim other human beings and they have no place on our streets and in the hands of criminals,” said Police Chief Joseph Gaudett.

The Gun Buyback program is part of a comprehensive strategy in Bridgeport to reduce violence and crack down on illegal gun use and illegal gun trafficking in the city.

The police department has added additional walking beats in targeted areas across the city. And, the police department plans to add 100 officers in the next 18-24 months.

Mayor Finch and the police department have partnered with state and federal law enforcement in Project Longevity, which helps people who commit violence off of our streets while offering support to folks who want to turn their lives around.

And, every day, the police department crime analysis unit and area commanders look for emerging crime trends and shift resources as needed.

The department also has aggressively targeted gun and gang violence.

The Bridgeport Police Department seized 208 firearms between June 2014 and May 2015.

The Bridgeport-based Statewide Urban Violence Cooperative Crime Control Task Force -- a joint task force comprised of members of Bridgeport police, the Connecticut State Police and Department of Corrections – had been key in those efforts.

The goal of the task force is to identify and target violence related to firearms in the city of Bridgeport.  

The task force develops gang intelligence in a variety of ways, including through extensive contacts in the community and through social media.

Also, last year Bridgeport police partnered with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and New Haven police in Operation Samson, an intelligence-led undercover operation that led to approximately 80 arrests and the seizure of 73 illegal guns in the two cities.

Most recently, the task force seized five guns, including a sniper rifle and two illegal assault weapons, which police believe were going to be sold to a drug dealer by an addict.