The Bainbridge Island Police Department took a shot at taking unwanted guns out of circulation this week with a voluntary firearm turn-in program.
The two-day event held Monday, March 11 and Tuesday, March 12 garnered 16 firearms. Police also handed out free gun locks.
“We got six handguns and an assortment of long guns, rifles, shotguns or air guns, and about 5,500 rounds,” said Lieutenant Chris Jensen.
Much of the ammunition brought in was corroded and decaying. In fact, officers decided to securely store some of the ammo outside the station.
“We ended up with a couple five-gallon buckets that had been left in a barn and mice had made a home in it,” Jensen said. “We’re not bringing all that animal stuff in here. We’re securing it separately.”
The firearms and ammo will be taken to a Seattle facility to be melted down.
Both days not only saw guns being turned in, but also firearm enthusiasts from the area who lined the sidewalk outside the police station with signs offering cash for guns.
“It’s not so much that I’m trying to capitalize on an opportunity, I just hate to see them destroyed when there are so many people who can’t afford to protect themselves properly in this day and age,” said Dan Huckeby, who waited outside the police station offering to buy a firearm on the first day.
Huckeby said he didn’t have his mind set on a specific firearm and was interested in taking a look at whatever came through. The first day of the event, however, didn’t provide too many prospects for gun buyers.
“My wife is interested in having a firearm and I said I’ll see what I can come up with,” Huckeby said. “And I’m coming home empty-handed.”
Others were there to buy the unwanted guns for other reasons.
“I’m just here because I’d rather see weapons stay with people, rather than turned in to be melted,” said Joe, who declined to give his last name.
“I’m here to exercise the Second Amendment,” he added. “Even if I don’t get anything, honestly, I’d just rather see people keep them.”
Some passerby asked if such sidewalk sales were legal. In Washington state, such methods of purchasing a gun are entirely lawful.
“Private-to-private sales are legal in this state with no documentation whatsoever,” Jensen said.