In 1994 Dr. Michael P. Hirsh, the Co-Director of Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Worcester, co-founded the Goods for Guns Program in Pittsburgh. To date, the program there, collected over 7800 guns. A similar program was initiated in Worcester in December of 2002 and has since been annually successful. For two Saturdays preceding the winter holidays, Injury Free Coalition workers and volunteers collect guns anonymously from the community in exchange for gift certificates to local stores. Participants who brought in unloaded working firearms completed surveys that gathered demographic data and were given trigger locks for any additional firearms that they may have had in their homes. The program is a great success, removing 2,056 operable firearms from the community, making Worcester a safer place in which to live. The program held its 9th annual event in December 2010, collecting 195 firearms.
The Guns for Art Project grew out of a successful program done in Pittsburgh in which local metal-working artists took the retrieved, deactivated weapons from their Goods for Guns Buyback Program and made them into art objects, jewelry and sculpture. This was done in the spirit of the old Isaiah quote about "beating swords into ploughshares". We are invested in doing this here with our Worcester Goods for Guns Buyback weapons and tie it into a tribute to Dr. Leonard Morse, retiring Commissioner of Public Health who was a champion of the Gun Buyback Program over the years. It is also our intention that a "mini" version will also be used to be brought into the Worcester Public Schools with our IP personnel and the Worcester Gang Task Force as a focal point of discussion around conflict resolution, violence, and injury prevention.