Police said residents turned in 24 pistols, 15 rifles and shotguns and 15 non-working guns, including some rusted parts for a machine gun. The weapons collected included .22 caliber rifles, 12, 16 and 20 gauge shotguns, as well revolvers and semi-automatic pistols ranging in size from .22 caliber to more powerful .357 caliber handguns. Also turned in were hundreds of rounds of ammunition, including about 50 rounds of armor piercing bullets that police believe were from the 1960s and were made for a Russian pistol. Police said these kinds of bullets can pierce certain protective vests, resulting in injury or death to a police officer.
“Having the armor piercing rounds turned in was worth it alone as these could be used to kill police officers,” training officer Scott Ziminski said.
Pistone said that although weapons that were turned in might have some value on the open market, the only way the buyback program can be effective is to ensure the guns are destroyed.
“It certainly wouldn’t be very ethical if the city paid its citizens $100 for their gun and then turned around and made a profit because the owners were unaware of the potential higher value,” he said. “It also wouldn’t be right to run this program with the idea of the citizens thinking they were turning in guns to be destroyed and then we resold them.”
Pistone said the city is not in the gun business, and that the idea of the program is to give citizens an opportunity to anonymously turn in guns that they do not want for whatever reason.
“The hope for us is that we may have averted a tragedy with one or more of these guns not getting into the wrong hands at some point,” he said. “This program was 100 percent voluntary, no questions asked. Our intention would never be to take away our citizens rights to bear arms lawfully.”