The police departments in the state’s largest city and several of its suburbs are holding a weapons take-back program that begins today. The Urbandale Police Department is hosting one of the first events, and spokesman Randy Peterson says its a voluntary way to get rid of weapons.
“It’s giving the public an opportunity to come in and drop off unwanted ammunition, firearms, anything like that. It’s not a requirement by any means, it’s just another way of making people’s homes safe if they don’t want firearms in their house any more,” Peterson says. He says the Des Moines department came up with the idea for the program as a way to get rid of weapons that might be used for crimes.
They will also take knives, swords and other weapons, but Peterson says it’s not an anonymous program. “When someone comes in to drop of a firearm, then we’ll ask for a photo I-D,” Peterson explains. “The reason for that is in case that firearm is later linked to a crime, we can go back to that person and kind of find out where that firearm came from, who had possession of it,” Peterson says.
He says that information could help solve a crime. Unlike gun buy back events, those who drop off the weapons won’t get paid to do so. Peterson is no sure what kind of response they will get.
“Really don’t know, it’s gonna be kind of a new thing for us. Obviously gun lovers will not be the ones coming in and dropping off guns,” Peterson says. “It’s usually someone that is inheriting a firearm and chooses not have a firearm for whatever reason.”
The police departments in Clive, Windsor Heights and West Des Moines Police will be a part of the gun take back event this afternoon from three o’clock until seven p.m. The Ankeny, Des Moines, Johnston and Mitchellville departments will hold take back events on Friday from noon until 6 p.m.