Public asked to surrender weapons to police so they can be destroyed Go to headquarters any weekday

June 09, 1993|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Staff Writer

The Howard County Police Department wants all the guns it can get. Not to outgun the bad guys, but to help you.

The department will accept weapons during regular business hours every weekday, said Sgt. Gary L. Gardner, a county police spokesman. The guns will be destroyed later.

"It's the safest and most effective way to get rid of them," he said.

The gun turn-in program has been available in Howard for years, but police say they've received calls recently from residents asking how they could turn in weapons.

Sgt. Robert Adams, a supervisor in the department's property evidence room, said citizens can go to police headquarters at 3410 Court House Drive in Ellicott City and give their firearms to the duty officer.

When turning in weapons, citizens should deliver them unloaded and place them in a case, police said. The duty officer will then turn over the firearms to the property section, Mr. Adams said.

"We get them destroyed in Bethlehem Steel," he said.

192 guns destroyed

Last Friday, for instance, the department detroyed 192 guns. Mr. Adams said the weapons were collected during the last year and included handguns and shotguns.

Police said they hope that publicity about the program will prompt more citizens to consider surrendering their weapons, Mr. Adams said.

For the most part, Mr. Adams said, law-abiding citizens surrender their guns because they don't want them in their homes. For example, wives of gun owners who have died sometimes decide to get rid of their spouse's guns, Mr. Adams said.

"We would never turn someone away if they wanted to turn a gun in," Mr. Adams said.

The program is similar to the "Turn in the Guns" program in Baltimore, an effort in which 100 churches and civic organizations have banded together to encourage the public to turn in weapons.

For further information call 313-2246.

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