NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) – City officials are considering buying back guns and instituting a youth curfew to help curb a surge in youth violence.

Details are still being hashed out, but the gun buyback plan would involve trading gift cards from local businesses for guns, no questions asked, the New Haven Register reported Sunday.

A similar program was recently held in Boston, Mass. There, $200 gift cards from Target were traded for working firearms. Non-working guns were accepted but were not eligible for the gift cards. Boston officials said they netted about 1,000 guns.

New Haven’s Board of Alderman has also drafted a so-called youth protection ordinance that would create a curfew for teens under a certain age. Over the past six weeks, two 13-year-olds in New Haven were killed by stray bullets in separate incidents.

“We may have to bring in a task force, a public safety task force to examine this sort of stuff. Too many young people are dying,” said Alderman Yusuf Shah.

Gun buybacks and curfews have been tried in other cities. There is no consensus about whether such initiatives reduce crime rates.

Boston finished its gun buyback program last month. Authorities there called it was a success, despite criticism that hardened criminals aren’t the ones to typically turn in weapons to police. “We were really trying to appeal to the mothers, the grandmothers, the girlfriends that wanted to take a stand against violence,” said Boston police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll.

New Haven has discussed a curfew for decades. But this year, Alderwoman Joyce Chen, whose ward was plagued by bicycle gangs, has pushed the idea.

Philadelphia, Denver, Cleveland, Indianapolis and Minneapolis are among the cities with curfews.

The proposed ordinance in New Haven is modeled after a curfew in Kingston, N.C., which took effect in June. The curfew would affect youths 17 years old and younger and run from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., according to preliminary plans.

Children caught after curfew would be taken home to their parents. There would be a warning for first offenders. Subsequent offenses could lead to tickets, possible about $70.

Alderwoman Liz McCormack said she wants to make sure a network of services will also be made available to help parents with troubled teens.

“Kids do not need to be out at 11 o’clock at night,” she said. “They should be home.”


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