Cityindulges in ‘guns for dogs’

Published on Thu, Jul 1, 2004 by eg Olson

Read More News

City indulges in ‘guns for dogs’

By Meg Olson

Some city council members are uncomfortable with the city selling guns to pay for the canine program.

“I’d rather see the police department collect and destroy guns, not sell them,” said council member Mike Myers. “I’d like to see us find some other way to support the canine program.”

At the June 28 city council meeting a resolution surplusing $4,330 worth of firearms and ammunition was passed without discussion. Myers’ comments came after approval of the item. The request for council action had attached an offer to buy the firearms from an arms dealer in Bothell, Washington. The sale included 20 weapons, ranging from a $565 Desert Eagle handgun, the Israeli-made action movie staple, to the $100 Mossburg 20-gauge shotgun.

Police chief Mike Haslip later said the guns and ammunition had all come from one donation, and the sale was the first of its kind for the city. “It’s not an ongoing project, an active solicitation,” he said. “We had one citizen who had a variety of firearms and wanted to do something good for the community. The best use we could think of is the one program we have that is completely donation driven - the canine program.” The canine program pays for the upkeep and training of local police dog Yoschi.

City manager Gary Tomsic encouraged Myers, and mayor Dieter Schugt who expressed a similar concert over the weapon sale, to not dismiss the issue as an aberration. “It’s going to come up again,” he said. “If this issue is important to you, you shouldn’t let it die. Get these kinds of things out and talk about them,” he said.

Haslip confirmed that, while the current sale was the first time the department has sold guns, it was not necessarily the last. The city routinely has weapons turned in, often from a gun owner traveling to Canada who can’t take the firearm across the border. “Rather than drop it under a bush, they come to us and abandon it,” he said. “Then some of them do just drop it under a bush. Until now the police department has kept the guns locked up ‘for years and years and years,’” Haslip said.