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Buy back takes in 26 guns

Geoff Bluh/Recorder
Orange Police Chief Robert Haigh and Selectman Chair Kathy Reinig sit at a table full of guns and ammo that were purchased in a gun buy back program on Saturday. By late morning, this assortment had been collected already at a trailer in the parking lot of the Orange Police station.

Geoff Bluh/Recorder Orange Police Chief Robert Haigh and Selectman Chair Kathy Reinig sit at a table full of guns and ammo that were purchased in a gun buy back program on Saturday. By late morning, this assortment had been collected already at a trailer in the parking lot of the Orange Police station.

ORANGE — Local police bought 26 new and used guns Saturday, and they intend to destroy every one of them.

“This is the first time we’ve done a gun buy back,” said Police Chief Robert Haigh Jr. “I didn’t know what to expect, but it went really well. We got everything from nice shotguns to some that were kind of garbage.”

Of the 26 guns taken in, only one, a .22 caliber rifle, was not in working condition, said Haigh.

“A couple people said they found guns in their houses, and hadn’t even known they were there,” said Haigh. “Another guy had just moved into a new place in town, and found a shotgun in the closet. Some people just didn’t want them anymore, and we’re happy to have them destroyed.”

Working guns included nine rifles and shotguns, and 16 handguns, some of which had never been fired, and the owners even brought the boxes they had come in.

Kathy Reinig, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, volunteered to help with the day-long event. She was glad to see so many unwanted guns brought in for safe disposal. Reinig was surprised by how easily some of the smaller guns could be hidden.

“One man had two small handguns, when he held them both in his hand you could only see one in his palm,” said Reining.

Those small, easily concealed pistols were just the kind of guns police had hoped to get, said Haigh.

“We had quite a few small handguns, ones you could hide right in your pocket; they’re smaller than your hand,” said Haigh.

Haigh held a double-barreled .22 caliber derringer in his palm. The tiny two-shot pistol was small enough to be passed under the guise of a handshake.

There were several bigger pistols as well, a mix of revolvers and semi-automatics. A few people also brought unwanted ammunition to the event to be disposed of.

The event was also an opportunity for people to renew or apply for firearms licenses, or just have their gun-related questions answered.

Officer Clay Rushford, Sgt. Craig Lundgren, police administrative assistant Brenda Anderson, and retired firefighter Alan Lego were on hand to help out with licensing, questions, and other particulars.

Police will keep the guns for one month, so they can each be cleared of connection with any crimes before they’re turned into scrap metal.

The no-questions-asked program was sponsored by an anonymous local man, who donated $2,000, completely funding the buy back.

“He was moved by the tragedy (of the December elementary school shooting) in Newtown, Conn., and wanted to do something good for the community,” said Haigh.

Saturday’s event paid $50 for long guns, $75 for pistols, and offered $100 for assault rifles, though none turned up. A total of $1,650 was given out for the unwanted guns, right within the donor’s scope.

“We really appreciate the donation. Maybe next year we’ll be able to do it again, and be even more successful,” said Haigh.

David Rainville can be reached at:
drainville@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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