Mayor Caldwell of Honolulu appears to have made the decision to destroy over half a million dollars of Smith & Wesson pistols, rather than sell them to police, police departments or to gun dealers anywhere.
The mayor did not seek to gain political “credit” for the decision.
The scheme was kept secret until it was leaked by whistle blowing police officers about a month ago.
No credible reason was given for destroying the valuable merchandise.
There is no shortage of pistol manufacturers. If the guns were sold to police or gun dealers, they would be directly competing with other pistols, in exactly the same legal channels as newly manufactured guns. By reducing the supply of old guns, Honolulu is increasing the demand for new guns. Gun manufacturers must be smiling all the way to the bank. It is Honolulu taxpayers who are footing the bill.
The city of Honolulu will destroy $500,000 worth of old police guns instead of selling them to other law enforcement agencies or Honolulu police officers.
HPD has replaced more than 2,300 of its old handguns with new lighter, cheaper guns. Many police officers said those old guns still have value and should not be thrown away but sold or donated to be re-used instead.
Hawaii News Now has learned that the city plans to destroy about 2,300 of the old Smith & Wessons in the next few weeks, including 200 of them that are brand new and still in their boxes.
“I don’t understand the thinking of the administration as to getting rid of these guns when we could benefit from the recycling, as long as there are safeguards,” said Honolulu City Council Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi.
In a statement, HPD said, “Mayor 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. The same goes for selling individual gun parts that could have been used to assemble a gun.”
Police discussed a number of options with city lawyers and budget officials, including selling the old guns with no restrictions on their future use which would have brought in $250 each or about $575,000.
Another option was selling them with the restriction that they could only be purchased by law enforcement, a move that would have generated $150 for each firearm or about $345,000.
Selling the guns for parts would have garnered about $100 for each gun, bringing the city $230,000.
HPD officers said many of them were willing to buy back their old guns from the department, even going through a vendor for liability reasons, something that happens across the country.
“That way it releases the city and the police department from liability and they don’t want the department to be in the business of selling weapons,” said HNN law enforcement expert Tommy Aiu, who spent 30 years at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and has taught criminal justice at the college level.
The city budget department decided its rules do not allow HPD to sell any of the weapons to its officers, even though the department did that in the past, HPD said.
“The only remaining option is to destroy the guns so they don’t end up on the street,” HPD said in a statement.
The Caldwell administration even found a way to interpret the budget rules to forbid the selling of police pistols to individual officers, a practice that had been common in the past.
If the City administration does not trust the Police Department to sell to individual officers, they are sending a message that individual officers should not own guns. Will we see Honolulu officers going home with empty holsters? It is a common sight in Central American countries, where officers turn in their guns at the end of their shift.
The HPD Smith & Wesson 5906 (pictured above) is the double action only (DAO) model
The administration cannot be accused of destroying the merchandise for political theater. They kept the decision secret until it was outed; the police department will not allow pictures of the guns; and no pictures have surfaced of the guns being destroyed. In gun “buy backs” politicians commonly attempt to gain credit by publicizing pictures of guns destruction. The Caldwell administration seems to fear the political fallout of their decision, rather than proudly display it.
When the Roosevelt administration made the decision to destroy millions of dollars of food during the depression, their rational was simple. They wanted to reduce the supply of food to increase prices for producers. The Caldwell administration in Honolulu seems determined to increase demand for new firearms. Firearm manufacturers gain profits, Honolulu taxpayers lose.
The Hawaii Sheriff department, which functions as a state police, have no problem trading in their Smith & Wessons to get a good deal on new guns. They are receiving a trade in value of $161,750 out of a $295,500 contract for several hundred guns.
The Caldwell administration is deeply dysfunctional.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch