NEW BEDFORD — Area residents can rid their homes of unwanted firearms this weekend through the New Bedford Police Department. New Bedford Police are overseeing a "Guns for Groceries" buy-back program on Saturday, where residents can turn in unwanted firearms, regardless of working condition, and receive a gift card to Market Basket worth up to $75.

Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro says many times a family member will have a gun that has been passed down to them, but they don't know what to do with it.

"Maybe someone passed away that was a gun aficionado and you don't have an interest and you don't know what to do with it," said Cordeiro. "It's a great opportunity for us to get those guns off of your hands before somebody else can. Because that's how illegal guns get out in the street. Somebody breaks into your house and they steal them."

There will be no questions asked of those turning in firearms, and police will also accept ammunition and toy guns.

Chief Cordeiro adds that if a resident doesn't want to turn in a weapon, there are other offerings to them that will help to ensure a safer community.

"If you don't want to give up your guns because you still go target shooting, hunting, or for personal safety, we're going to have trigger locks there as well to ensure that the guns that you decide to keep are kept safely locked."

The "Guns for Groceries" program runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 17, at the Pilgrim United Church of Christ at 634 Purchase Street in downtown New Bedford.

A "Guns for Groceries" event will also take place at the same time in Fall River at the Blessed Trinity Church, 1340 Plymouth Avenue.

The event is organized by the UMass Dartmouth Leduc Center for Civic Engagement, and sponsored by Southcoast Health, Market Basket, Attorney Scott Lang, and Domino's Team New Bedford.

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