Arlington MA Faith Communities Organize Gun Buyback

September 22, 2013

By Alexx Wood

Last Spring, Bob Baker, a member of Calvary Church United Methodist in Arlington MA, read a story about a gun buyback program organized by the UMC in Falmouth MA. The Falmouth gun buyback resulted in 206 firearms and 3 containers full of ammunition being turned in. Baker wondered whether something like this might work in Arlington, and he approached the subject with Calvary’s pastor, Rev. Christine Elliott. Rev. Elliott was very receptive to the idea and believed this was an effort which could engage others in the Arlington faith community as well.

After discussions and unanimous support from the church leadership, Rev. Elliott contacted other churches in town, and with the support of Trinity Baptist Church, Park Avenue Congregational Church (UCC), and First Parish Unitarian Universalist, they approached the Arlington Police Department. Police Chief Fred Ryan welcomed the idea and plans immediately got underway for a September 28 gun buyback.

While gun violence and gun-related crimes are not usually a major concern in Arlington, Chief Ryan stated that “there are many excess, unwanted firearms in attics or basements. They may have been left by our deceased family members or others to people who do not want them around.” Baker added that accidental or impulsive gun use is always a concern, noting that the gun buyback provides a way for those with unwanted guns to dispose of them safely and anonymously “so they wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands or be used impulsively by people who shouldn’t have access to guns.”

Arlington Buyback Event on September 28

The gun buyback is being held this Saturday, September 28, 2013, between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. at the Department of Public Works lot at 51 Grove Street, Arlington, MA. (“Rain date” is Saturday, October 5). No questions asked and no identification required. Amnesty will be extended for gun law violations for Arlington residents traveling to the event between 9:30 am and 3:00 pm on September 28, 2013. Firearms should be brought to the event with empty chambers, clips or magazines unattached, safeties on and in a carrying case, box or other container. 

Grocery gift cards will be exchanged for firearms as follows:

·       $25.00 – BB or pellet gun/inoperable firearm

·       $100.00 – Revolver/Semi-automatic/Shotgun/Rifle

·       $200.00 Assault Weapon

The organizers and the Police Department stress that the program is “no questions asked and no identification required.” Arlington Police Officers will be on hand to receive and legally destroy per Police Department policy all hand guns, rifles, shotguns, bb guns and air guns, working or non-working, antique or modern, registered or not, as well as ammunition.

Support Needed

Many Arlington business and individuals are supporting the buyback event with donations of funds for the grocery gift cards to be provided in exchange for the firearms. The Arlington churches welcome prayers of support for this effort. Visit for more information and other ways to support the gun buyback.  


More than 200 firearms were turned in during
the Falmouth gun buyback last March. (photo by Julie Calhoun.)