Fairfax County officials are looking into hosting events for residents to hand over unwanted guns for destruction. The initiative is resulting from last month's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Sharon Bulova, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, asked staff during the Board’s meeting Tuesday to publicize more heavily the county’s existing gun turn-in service so residents might be encouraged to get rid of their firearms.
“Many residents have contacted my office to voice concern regarding guns,” Bulova said. “Most residents do not realize that Fairfax County provides a voluntary gun turn-in service.”
Unwanted or unneeded firearms and ammunition can be turned into the Fairfax County Police Department. David Rohrer, the deputy county executive for public safety, told supervisors all guns turned over to the police department are then destroyed.
Rohrer said the department had seen residents hand over a variety of weapons over the years, including antique rifles and even a cannonball, as well as handguns.
The number of guns turned in last year was not readily available.
“I do think it’s important to raise awareness,” Rohrer said.
Supervisor Gerry Hyland (D-Mount Vernon) recommended the county host an annual or biannual gun turn-in days, events that could be publicized sponsored by the county in order to increase participation and awareness.
“It encourages people to really do it,” Hyland said. “You might find that more people would participate.”
Bulova instructed the police department’s public information office to work with the county’s office of public affairs on the possibility of organizing such an event.
“If residents do choose to own guns in their homes, safe handling and storage is paramount to prevent accidents,” Bulova said in a statement. “The County should make it as easy as possible for residents to voluntarily turn over unwanted weapons.”