Montgomery gun owners turn in weapons -- Gazette.Net


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This story was updated on May 12, 2013.

Montgomery County police collected 111 firearms Saturday as part of a statewide gun turn-in program.

“We don’t expect to get a lot of crime guns,” police Sgt. Ken Berger said. “But they could be future crime guns if they weren’t turned in.”

A Maryland Attorney General’s Office website listed 19 jurisdictions with drop-off sites. In Montgomery County, police set up three locations to receive weapons, no questions asked.

At the Public Safety Headquarters in Gaithersburg, officers had received shotguns, pistols and at least one AK-47 in the morning.

They also received an unusual Chicago Firearms Co. palm pistol, which were made more than 100 years ago.

On Saturday evening, police reported the program received 69 handguns, 27 rifles, 15 shotguns, as well as a grenade, 11 BB guns, a sword, and about 10,000 rounds of ammunition.

Berger, who supervises the firearms investigation unit, said Maryland law requires gun owners to sell firearms through the Maryland State Police or a certified gun owner.

He said the collected weapons would be checked to see if they were used in a crime, and the serial numbers checked to see if they were reported stolen. Stolen weapons would be returned to their rightful owners, Berger said. The rest would be melted down, he said.

The turn-in was advertised as a first for the state, but Jodi Finkelstein, a volunteer, said she helped to organize one 20 years ago.

The event will benefit violence prevention programs at the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Finkelstein said she reached out to foundations and individuals to make donations that would go to the programs.

Finkelstein, of Olney, is a member of the Montgomery County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee.

dtallman@gazette.net