I noticed that several people who responded to the first part of our Following the Firearms: Gun Violence in Minneapolis series focused on the fate of some of the guns in the Minneapolis Police Department’s gun vault. Some lamented the fact the unclaimed guns will be destroyed.
Well, here’s a story about some guns that have been saved from the smelter. The MPD was going to melt down 25 Remington 870 shotguns formerly used by their officers. The department is upgrading to new shotguns, and normally, they destroy used weapons. However, the Pine County Sheriff’s Department has a use for them.
The sheriff’s department offered to convert the guns to “less than lethal” status. Pine County Sheriff’s chief deputy Steven Blackwell says the guns will be loaded with bean bag rounds. He says they will be used in situations such as when deputies confront someone having a mental breakdown.
The Minneapolis City Council approved the transfer today. However, the guns will first need to undergo an important transformation. Blackwell says the “less than lethal” guns will be refitted with bright orange stocks.
The department wants to make sure there isn’t any confusion over what’s going to come out of the shotgun’s barrel if a deputy has to fire it.