Turnout light, media attention heavy for first day of BIPD gun disposal eventMarch 11th, 2013 by Tad Sooter
Larry of Bainbridge Island found an unwelcome heirloom while cleaning out a family home Monday morning. Inside a box, tucked away in a closet, Larry discovered a collection of bullets and shotgun shells. The ammunition looked old and corroded.
“It scared the heck out of me,” said Larry, who declined to give his last name. “I thought, whoa, I’d better get rid of this.”
A phone call and a few hours later, Larry was handing the box of ammunition over to Bainbridge Police. The department held a firearms and ammunition disposal event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday. The program will continue Tuesday from 3-7 p.m. The event is open to anyone who wishes to participate and isn’t limited to Bainbridge residents.
The department will destroy all guns and ammunition turned in. “Nearly a dozen” unwanted firearms and about 1,600 rounds of ammunition were dropped off Monday, evidence technician Jennifer Cooper said. A definitive count will be taken following the Tuesday evening session.
Cooper said the motivation for the event is to help people safely dispose of unwanted ammunition and keep firearms from being stolen or falling into the wrong hands. About 70 firearms were stolen in Kitsap County in 2012, according to the department.
“Now we don’t know where those guns are,” Cooper said.
A handful of private gun buyers lingered near the entrance to the police department Monday and attempted to intercept people dropping off firearms and ammo. Among the buyers was Joe of Port Ludlow, who also declined to give a last name. Joe said he hadn’t made any purchases Monday but was glad to not see many firearms being turned in.
“It’s a good thing they aren’t bringing them down,” Joe said. “They should keep them.”
Turnout for the turn-in was light Monday but media attention was heavy. Two Seattle television stations covered the turn-in, along with local news outlets.
Larry, who was unaware of the event before he called the department that morning, found himself propositioned by gun buyers and photographed by reporters as he handed in his box of shells.
“I didn’t realize it was going to be such a big thing,” he said as he hurried back to his truck.
The police department is located at 625 Winslow Way East. For more information on the disposal event call (206) 842-5211.