Honolulu’s police department has drawn criticism from a decision to destroy 2,300 handguns worth approximately $500,000.
Police in Honolulu recently replaced 2,300 Smith and Wesson 9mms with the Glock 17. Hawaii News Now reported that 200 of the handguns were still new, having never been removed from their original boxes.
The department decided to destroy the old weapons in an apparent attempt to keep them out of the hands of Honolulu citizens.
“Mayor Caldwell and the Honolulu Police Department agreed that they would not allow the guns to be sold to the general public and end up in the streets of Honolulu,” the HPD said in a statement earlier this month.
Not surprisingly, the decision has made some angry, for differing reasons. Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation blasted the move, calling it “the height of anti-gun stupidity.”
The National Rifle Association took a similar stance. “There is no reason why these firearms couldn’t be used by law enforcement or sold to law-abiding citizens, the proceeds of which could go to much-needed infrastructure, programs, training, etc,” Amy Hunter, NRA spokeswoman said to Fox News.
There are some in Honolulu with feelings similar to Hunter. Honolulu City Council Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi was also upset by the department’s move.
“I don’t understand the thinking of the administration as to getting rid of these guns when we could benefit from the recycling, as long as there are safeguards,” Kobayashi told reporters.
Many police officers were allegedly in favor of the guns being sold as well. Some of them even wanted to buy their old guns from the department. Hawaii News Now reports the department looked at a few different options before they settled on destroying the guns.
Smith & Wesson was approached for a potential buy-back for credit but the company was allegedly not interested in doing business after the city had purchased new firearms from a major competitor.
One option explored was a public sale at $250 each, which could bring in $575,000. Sales to different law enforcement agency for $150 each could have brought in $345,000. A third option was to sell the guns for parts at $100 each.
Liability reasons were also cited by Hawaii News Now as a major reason the department decided to destroy the firearms. It seems the department agreed because the city’s budget department decided their rules would not allow the police department to sell weapons to their officers.
While the weapons in question have long since been destroyed, it doesn’t appear the Honolulu police department, or city officials, have heard the last about the issue.
“These guns in the hands of lawful civilians could provide an important means of self-defense, especially for low income people who can’t afford them,” Gottlieb told Fox News. “Or the sale of them could help pay for much needed law enforcement equipment to help keep the public safe.”