GUILFORD — People will have the chance to anonymously exchange their guns for gift cards and receive information about safe storage through a “Safe Surrender” initiative on June 22 honoring Ethan Song, the teenager who died after he accidentally shot himself in the head in 2018.
Song’s parents have become advocates for stronger gun storage laws. After Ethan’s death, they learned a number of acquaintances had unsecured guns in their homes or knew about unsecured guns in other residences, Ethan’s mother, Kristin Song, said in an email.
“These people said they didn’t know what to do with the guns — so they put them on a shelf/closet and forgot about them. Unfortunately, ‘hiding’ them does not keep your loved ones safe,” Song said, pointing out that unsecured guns increase the risk of suicides and accidental shootings.
What’s more, Song noted, unsecured firearms can be stolen and used in violent crimes. She asked those with unwanted or unneeded guns to “please come turn them in.”
Those who turn in guns will receive gift cards that vary in value from $25 to $200, depending on the type of firearm, according to an event flyer. Police will not ask for identification or make arrests for illegal possession of the weapon, according to the flyer.
The surrendered guns will be turned into gardening tools and a select number of gun safes will be given to attendees, Song said.
In addition to the Ethan Miller Song Foundation, Yale New Haven Health’s Injury Prevention Program and the Injury Free Coalition for Kids of New Haven are sponsoring the event, which the Guilford Police Department will hold from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m June 22.
The Guilford Police Department is located at 400 Church St.