FALMOUTH, Maine — It took roughly 26 minutes for the Falmouth Police Department to safely destroy a year's worth of unused or unwanted guns from its evidence room Saturday afternoon.
The department was approached by the Swedish company 'Humanium Metals' about hosting a gun destruction event. The company repurposes the metal from the firearms into watches, bracelets, and other jewelry with proceeds benefiting families affected by gun violence.
Chief John Kilbride watched as 15 pistols and rifles were chopped up into pieces of metal. He believes Falmouth is the first police department in the country that Humanium has worked with.
He said local agencies started a gun take-back program a few years ago, but last year's event was canceled due to the pandemic. Much like the popular drug take-back events, Mainers can safely dispose of their unused or unwanted firearms at such an event.
"Of course, we never want to have a firearm in someone’s hand that shouldn’t have it, children, or a firearm that could be stolen in a burglary that the folks didn’t want that could maybe be pointed at one of my officers down the road. It’s a win-win program," Kilbride said.
Cam Shannon is the Chair of the Board of the Maine Gun Safety Coalition. She said the need to host these kinds of events started two years ago when a gun was found in a Yarmouth dumpster.
“There was a need to more publicly, or to make people aware of how to dispose of unwanted guns safety so that they wouldn’t fall into the hands of a curious child, a depressed teenager, or get stolen during a crime," she added.
Shannon went on to say that Maine is at one end of the 'Iron Pipeline', a route where guns and drugs are trafficked up and down I-95.
“Doing work here in our state is not just keeping the people in our state safe but protecting others elsewhere," she said.