King County OKs Established Firearms and Ammunition Drop-Off Program | Government and politics

SEATTLE, AP — Residents of Washington state’s most populous county should soon be able to drop off unwanted guns and ammunition at any sheriff’s office or storefront, assured of their safe disposal.

Metropolitan King County Council on Tuesday unanimously approved legislation to create a permanent program within its sheriff’s office that allows people to voluntarily surrender firearms and ammunition, The Seattle Times reported.

The legislation asks the county executive to assess the feasibility of allowing drops and allowing people to ask the sheriff’s deputy to retrieve an unwanted firearm.

People could also drop off firearms at locations in the 10 contract towns where the county sheriff provides policing. And the legislation directs the sheriff to seek partnerships with other cities to expand access for people seeking to renew firearms or ammunition.

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The measure emerged following mass shootings in May in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas.

“Reducing the number of firearms in circulation will reduce the number of accidents, injuries and deaths caused by firearms,” said board member Rod Dembowski, the main sponsor. “And we know from experience that people welcome the opportunity to turn over unwanted weapons to a responsible party for disposal.”

During a 2013 gun buyback program coordinated by King County and the City of Seattle, 716 firearms were turned in to law enforcement in exchange for gift cards.

“Gun violence is horrendous, tragic and – above all – preventable,” said council member Girmay Zahilay. “The program is a small but important step in making our communities safer.”

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