564 guns surrendered in Lents

Why did so many law-abiding citizens turn their weapons at this event? We’ve got the answer right here …

Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Sgt. Tim Sessions checks out a gun being turned in at the Lents Neighborhood Association event.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The Lents Neighborhood Association, in cooperation with Ceasefire Oregon and the Portland Police Bureau, provided citizens the opportunity for citizens to turn in working handguns and rifles on November 1.

“I guess the word got out,” said Dewey Akers, the immediate past chair of the neighborhood association. “We had people coming here, from as far away as Canby and Gresham, from the hour we opened.”

Akers said that Ceasefire Oregon made a presentation to the neighborhood association, at which time they agreed to sponsor the turn-in program.

Gets guns off the street
In charge of the day’s program was Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Sgt. Tim Sessions, who talked with us about the event, as he made sure guns were made safe and ready for transport.

“The number one reason do this is to help keep us all safe,” Sessions began. “And, we encourage people who don’t want guns they inherited or have to bring them to events like these. It gives them a safe way to turn in a gun to be destroyed without any questions asked.”

Sessions said gun turn-ins help “keep us all safe” because, “When you think about it, if a person doesn’t know how to be responsible for a gun doesn’t know how to secure the weapon, there is the possibility of an accidental shooting. Add to that is the potential of a theft or burglary that can put the gun ‘on the street’, and in the wrong hands.”

Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Cadets Houck and Cisneros help at the event.

Said most successful ever
“Ceasefire Oregon”, we were told, collects donations used to buy gift certificates which are then given to citizens who surrender a “workable firearm weapon”. At this event, each citizen turning in a working weapon received a $75 Fred Meyer certificate, with a maximum of two certificates for two guns turned in.

“We started out with 375 certificates, and gave out 100 IOUs after we ran out,” commented Akers. “I didn’t think anyone would leave their name and address on the envelope, but they did.”

We observed some citizens deciding to keep their gun after they learned the supply of gift certificates was exhausted.

534 guns were surrendered at the Lents turn-in; organizers said it was their most successful event ever.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News.

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