In the days following the shooting rampage in a Florida high school, local law enforcement agencies have received calls from residents asking for their personal military-style firearms be destroyed.
The 19-year-old Florida man accused of carrying out the mass shooting reportedly used an AR-15 to kill 17 students and teachers.
Leesburg Police Department received a call last week from a resident who said she wanted to turn in two AR-15s, 3,500 rounds of ammunition, and about two dozen magazines to be destroyed.
She told Loudoun Now in an interview that she wanted to ensure the weapons, ammunition and magazines would not be re-sold, even though the guns and accessories’ value was more than $3,000. She decided to have them destroyed after seeing live video footage of the Florida shooting that showed students stepping over their classmates’ bodies as they evacuated.
“That was enough,” she said. She asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution from pro-gun activists. “I’m a former veteran and these guns are fun to shoot, but I don’t want to be part of this anymore. No one needs this type of gun. Their only purpose is to kill people.”
Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office has asked residents to follow certain protocols if they wish to dispose of a firearm or ammunition. They are asked to call the office’s non-emergency numbers at 703-777-1021 or 703-777-1025 to have a deputy respond to their home or business.
“We ask that residents leave the weapon in a safe location and direct the deputy to its location,” agency spokesman Kraig Troxell said. “A deputy will ensure the firearm is unloaded and rendered safe before taking possession of it.”
Residents will be asked to sign a form authorizing the destruction of the item or items.
Sam M. Shenouda, Leesburg Police Department’s public information officer, said the two AR-15s officers picked up last week first will be placed in the department’s evidence division. “The guns will subsequently be sent for destruction. While this is not a typical call for service, it is always our mission to provide the best customer service,” he said.
Leesburg Police and the sheriff’s office said any surrendered guns and accessories would be disposed of free of charge and would not be sold or returned to circulation.
Loudoun Now photographer Douglas Graham contributed to this story.