HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Gun control advocates, law enforcement officials and health care providers gathered Thursday at the Connecticut State Capitol to announce the state’s third annual gun buyback program.
During the event, officials said their thoughts were with the victims of the mass shooting in Maine.
Kristen Song, who founded the Ethan Miller Song Foundation, spoke about the importance of the #KeepKidsSafe gun buyback event.
“We are beginning the holiday season, so remember you may not have children currently living in your home, but you may have children visiting,” Song said.
The #KeepKidsSafe Gun Buyback Event will be held at between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday at police departments across the state. The Guilford, Hartford, Meriden, Middletown, Newtown, Norwalk, Stamford and Waterbury police departments will be participating.
“It’s absolutely shocking that this is the 565th mass shooting of the year,” Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz (D-Conn) said. “Not of the decade of the year.”
Po Murray with the Newtown Action Alliance Foundation spoke about the Maine shootings.
“We know too well what they’re going through but what we don’t know is being locked down for days until the gunman has been apprehended,” Murray said. “Our hearts are with their community.”
Kevin Borrup with Connecticut Children’s said that more children are dying from firearms than vehicle crashes.
Those turning in an unloaded working gun will receive gift cards in exchange for the firearm. They can also pick up a gunlock or gun safe while supplies last.
“The fact is that every firearm injury that exists in our country is 100 percent preventable,” said Dr. David Shapiro, the chief medical officer and a trauma surgeon at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford.
While Connecticut now bans the sale of AR-15-style automatic weapons, except for law enforcement and military personnel, the advocates Thursday said Maine does not have those types of gun control laws or red flag laws, which also take into consideration mental health when allowing gun sales.
“There’s an organization called Maine Gun Safety Organization, and we’ve already reached out to them to see how we can be helpful,” Murray said.
She also said the group also plans to reach out to the governor of Maine and members of Maine’s congressional delegation, hoping to push for stricter gun regulations in that state and nationwide.