Police urge help in rounding up illegal weapons

January 22, 1991|By Roger Twigg

In a room filled with semiautomatic Uzis, .357-caliber Magnums and scores of other confiscated guns, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and Police Commissioner Edward V. Woods urged Baltimore residents yesterday to help them remove more illegal weapons from the streets.

Police have seized 326 handguns, rifles and shotguns since Dec. 13 -- only a fraction of the number carried on the streets and used to commit violent crimes, Mayor Schmoke said.

Of the 305 people slain in Baltimore last year, 207, nearly 68 percent, were killed by firearms, said Dennis S. Hill, a police spokesman.

The cache of weapons displayed at police headquarters included the Uzis, 9mm handguns and .357-caliber Magnums often carried by drug traffickers.

Police seized most of the guns during drug raids and other arrests.

Some were taken from people who were merely carrying them on the street illegally and were reported by others.

Police said an average of more than 200 firearms are seized each month in the city. A total of 2,244 handguns were confiscated in 1990.

Commissioner Woods is urging people who know of illegal weapons to contact the police by calling the 911 emergency number.

The call can be made without involving the caller in the seizure of the weapons, police said.

All of the seized weapons will be taken to a steel mill and melted in a blast furnace once they have been checked to see if they were used in other crimes or are no longer needed in criminal prosecutions.

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