First Statewide Gun Turn-in Nets 250 Firearms

Some Maryland jurisdictions were surprised by the large number of guns turned over to police.


Marylanders by the dozens turned over unwanted firearms to police in the first statewide "Gun Turn-In Day," sponsored by Attorney General Doug Gansler.

A total of 250 firearms were turned in, the attorney general's office announced Tuesday.

The guns turned in are now unavailable to those who would misuse them, according to David Paulson, communications director. "If one life is saved or one serious injury is prevented in Maryland, this effort is entirely worth it," he added, citing what he said law enforcement officials had expressed to the attorney general's office.

"We greatly appreciate the tremendous efforts of every local law enforcement agency and the Maryland State Police who participated," he said.

The guns were turned in, with no questions asked, at more than two dozen locations last weekend.

“The criticism always is that criminals aren’t going to return their guns," Gansler was quoted as saying by WJZ-TV in Baltimore. "Well, that’s probably right but there are a lot of people who have guns that don’t want them in their houses.” 

More than 100 guns and 10,000 rounds of ammunition were turned in at three police stations in Montgomery County, including 69 handguns, 27 rifles, 15 shotguns, one grenade, 11 BB guns and one other weapon--a sword.

In Annapolis, 16 guns and 20 boxes of ammunition were turned in, including six handguns, five rifles, four shotguns and one air rifle.

"The most frequent reason given for turning in a gun or ammunition was that it belonged to a deceased relative, and they no longer wanted it in their home," according to an Annapolis police news release.

Anne Arundel County police said that outside of Annapolis, 27 guns were turned in--13 handguns, four shotguns, nine rifles and a sub-machine gun.

The Westminster State Police barrack reported 14 guns turned in--four revolvers, two pistols or semi-automatic handguns, six shotguns and two rifles.

"I didn’t expect this many in this area," said Detective Sgt. Tim Mullin. "I thought there would be some, maybe as many as 8-10, but we got 14." 

Gansler noted that the program is not related to gun control or politics, though it was initiated in February during the legislative swirl of gun control bills, The Washington Post reported.

Earlier in Westminster, city officials did made a link between such programs and gun restrictions, failing to support Gansler's call for residents to turn in unwanted guns.

"It’s a calculated effort to encourage people to relinquish their guns and I don’t think it’s a good idea for the government to have a monopoly on guns," Councilman Damian Halstad said at the time. "To that extent this is not the kind of community where it’s going to be successful."

Several Maryland counties and Baltimore held gun buy-backs in December following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown CT, collecting hundreds of firearms and weapons.

A restrictive gun control package was passed by the Maryland General Assembly in April. 

For the latest gun turn-in, donations to the University of Maryland Medical Center's R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center will be made for each gun relinquished, Montgomery County police said. The guns handed over were to be destroyed.

Other jurisdictions did not participate in the specific event over the weekend, noting that residents are free to bring unwanted firearms to police stations at any time.

This story was updated at 6:56 p.m. to reflect the official count by the attorney general's office.

David J Iacono May 14, 2013 at 09:30 PM
Could have been more guns turned in if Utz, Chiavacci and Wack weren't such cowards on the issue.
Native May 15, 2013 at 02:04 AM
Symbolism over substance David, that's all this is. Kudos to Mayor Utz for not caving in to the anti 2A crowd.
Buck Harmon May 15, 2013 at 12:35 PM
How many criminals do you think turned their guns in..?...effort in vain at taxpayer expense.
Shawn May 17, 2013 at 02:56 AM
As a collector I love Gun turn in's. The police offer $25 gift certificates and I offer a tenth of the current market value which is much more than the measly $25 gift certificate. I must say, I had way higher numbers of gun acquisitions than the police had turn in's. I love the socialist state of Maryland!


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