KINGSTON — Nearly 200 confiscated firearms in possession of the municipality’s police department will never be fired again.
Firearms collected since the 1980s will be destroyed to make room in the department’s evidence storage room, said police Chief Keith Keiper.
“We’re running out of space in our armory,” he said. “We’re going to destroy the weapons we have; weapons that have been in there since the 1980s and 1990s.”
Luzerne County President Judge Thomas Burke signed a court order allowing the firearms to be dismantled and chopped up. Most of the weapons were seized as evidence in criminal cases that have closed, according to the request to destroy them.
There also are firearms that have been turned in when found in houses, Keiper said. “We’ve had people come in when they cleaned out the attic of a house for a loved one that died and they say, ‘Here, we don’t want this,’ and they turn it in,” he said.
There have been no requests for the return of any of the firearms to the rightful owner, he said.
According to the department’s list, there are 61 revolvers, 52 pistols, 30 shotguns, 25 rifles and two pellet guns that will be destroyed. Police are responsible to transfer the firearms to a scrap yard and witness the destruction.
In prior years, county detectives have had firearms destroyed at Allan Industries Recyclers in Wilkes-Barre Township, which offered the service free of charge.
Barrels on rifles and shotguns have to be sheared three times, and handguns have to be sheared twice.