Walla Walla will not destroy the Police Department’s old guns, but the City Council has not yet decided what to do with them.
At a work session Monday, the Council revisited a debate surrounding whether to destroy or sell 11 surplus police firearms. The Council held off making a decision when the issue came up in January and again last month, planning to discuss establishing a policy on what to do with them.
Only two councilors at Monday’s meeting expressed support for setting a policy to destroy the guns while the other five did not reach an agreement on either selling them or putting them to use by using them in firearm safety education.
Mayor Barbara Clark and Council member Tom Scribner wanted to set a policy to destroy old Police Department guns, but did not receive support from the rest of Council.
Council member Steve Moss proposed considering giving the guns to a club that could use them to teach safe handling and responsible ownership. Council member Jerry Cummins took the position that selling the firearms to a federally licensed dealer was safe and the city had an obligation to save money wherever possible. Council member Myron Huie said he thought the guns should be treated the same as other surplus items, like old police cars.
Police Chief Scott Bieber has said the guns — eight Remington 870 shotguns, a Mossberg 500A shotgun, a Colt Mustang .380 handgun and a Smith and Wesson Model 36 revolver — have been sitting in the department’s armory for years. The department has moved more modern weaponry, and the ones in the armory “are almost antiquated in terms of law enforcement,” Bieber has said.
He has said it does not matter to him whether the Council decides to destroy or approve the sale of these particular guns.
With Council member Riley Clubb absent at the January meeting where the debate began, the Council deadlocked on a 3-3 vote. Had he been present, Clubb said, he would have broken the tie in favor of selling the guns. In an interview after the meeting, he said he would not support destroying them.
At Monday’s work session, the Council did not set a date to
vote on declaring the firearms surplus.