- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Instead of auctioning off firearms it no longer needs, the Honolulu Police Department has opted to destroy $575,000 worth of handguns in a controversial effort to keep them off the streets.

The HPD is switching from the Smith & Wesson 9 mm handguns to the less expensive Glock 17. The department decided that the roughly 2,300 Smith & Wessons should be destroyed, rather than sold to the public or donated to another department, Fox News reported.

Selling the guns to the public would have brought in $250 each or about $575,000, Hawaii News Now reported. Selling the guns just for parts would have brought the city at least $230,000, the station said.

“Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the Honolulu Police Department agreed that they would not allow the guns to be sold to the general public and end up on the streets of Honolulu,” said Honolulu Police spokeswoman Michelle Yu. “The same goes for selling the individual gun parts that could have been used to assemble a gun.”

Ms. Yu said no other police departments were interested in the guns.

“Law enforcement in American Samoa initially expressed interest in acquiring some of the guns, but there was a change in administration and the new administration is no longer interested,” she told Fox. “The local sheriff’s department recently replaced their guns, and other county police departments (Kauai, Maui and Hawaii) are looking to replace their Smith & Wessons in the future.”

Amy Hunter, spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, slammed the decision.

“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,” she told Fox.

The Hawaii Rifle Association’s President Harvey Gerwig and Lessons in Firearms Education President Bill Richter wrote a letter to the mayor, emphasizing that “in these times of lean budgets and continual cost cutting to needed city services, to throw away a half a million dollars seems senseless.”

“The reason your office and HPD gave for not selling to the public seemed to be a slight on those legal gun owners who would have purchased them and who supported you during your election,” the letter continued, Fox reported. “You should be ashamed for suggesting that the good citizens of Hawaii cannot be trusted with buying HPD’s surplus guns for fear of them falling into criminal hands when record numbers of firearms have been bought by those same citizens for the last ten years without any such problems.”

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