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Fairfax Staff Organizing Gun Turn-In Days

Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova wants county's gun turn-in service better publicized.

After the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. last month, Fairfax County officials are looking into hosting events for residents to hand over unwanted guns for destruction.

Sharon Bulova, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, asked staff during the Board’s meeting Tuesday to publicize more heavily the county’s existing gun turn-in service so residents might be encouraged to get rid of their firearms.

“Many residents have contacted my office to voice concern regarding guns,” Bulova said. “Most residents do not realize that Fairfax County provides a voluntary gun turn-in service.”

Unwanted or unneeded firearms and ammunition can be turned into the Fairfax County Police Department. David Rohrer, deputy county executive for public safety, told supervisors all guns turned over to the police department are then destroyed.

Rohrer said the department had seen residents hand over a variety of weapons over the years, including antique rifles and even a cannonball, as well as handguns.

The number of guns turned in last year was not readily available.

“I do think it’s important to raise awareness,” Rohrer said.

Supervisor Gerry Hyland (D-Mount Vernon) recommended the county host an annual or biannual gun turn-in days, events that could be publicized sponsored by the county in order to increase participation and awareness.

“It encourages people to really do it,” Hyland said. “You might find that more people would participate.”

Bulova instructed the police department’s public information office to work with the county’s office of public affairs on the possibility of organizing such an event.

“If residents do choose to own guns in their homes, safe handling and storage is paramount to prevent accidents,” Bulova said in a statement. “The County should make it as easy as possible for residents to voluntarily turn over unwanted weapons.”

Les Aker January 10, 2013 at 04:52 PM
"Unwanted or unneeded firearms and ammunition can be turned into the Fairfax County Police Department. David Rohrer, deputy county executive for public safety, told supervisors all guns turned over to the police department are then destroyed." It is illegal to destroy the guns that are turned in. § 15.2-915.5. Disposition of firearms acquired by localities. That law makes it illegal to destroy the guns.
Eric Jeffrey January 10, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Les Aker, did you read the law? It specifically Authorizes destruction of turned in guns, after an attempt to sell to licensed dealers. And it only applies where the guns are purchased, not when turned in for free. § 15.2-915.5. Disposition of firearms acquired by localities. A. No locality or agent of such locality may participate in any program in which individuals are given a thing of value provided by another individual or other entity in exchange for surrendering a firearm to the locality or agent of such locality unless the governing body of the locality has enacted an ordinance, . . . authorizing . . . such program. B. Any ordinance enacted pursuant to this section shall require that any firearm received . . . shall be offered for sale by public auction or sealed bids to a person licensed as a dealer pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 921 et seq. . . . Any firearm remaining in possession of the locality or agent of the locality after attempts to sell at public auction or by sealed bids shall be disposed of in a manner the locality deems proper, which may include destruction of the firearm or, subject to any registration requirements of federal law, sale of the firearm to a licensed dealer.
Les Aker January 10, 2013 at 06:47 PM
Yes, I've read it. This is the part you're trying to avoid, and it is not tied to receiving anything of value in return: "B. Any ordinance enacted pursuant to this section shall require that any firearm received, except a firearm of the type defined in § 18.2-288 or 18.2-299 or a firearm the transfer for which is prohibited by federal law, shall be offered for sale by public auction or sealed bids to a person licensed as a dealer pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 921 et seq." You need to read the 2012 update to the law.
T Ailshire January 10, 2013 at 09:36 PM
Commenting solely to follow this story by e-mail.
Judy Rudek January 11, 2013 at 03:57 AM
I certainly hope people who no longer want these firearms consider selling via consignment, or at least determining a fair market value for them first before giving them away. Many a cherished family heirloom could be destroyed this way.

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