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.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.
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.
Since 1990, Honolulu police officers have used Smith & Wesson 9 millimeter handguns and the city has replaced them with lighter and easier-to-use Glock 17s that cost about half as much as the Smith & Wessons.
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.
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 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.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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