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Communities collect guns

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:57 AM

Spring Lake Village Manager Chris Burns said the campaign was sparked by an e-mail from village resident Leslie Newman, who suggested the program.

Although the local police departments have long been willing to accept unwanted weapons, Burns said it's time to bring the program to the forefront.

“We're putting this out there for folks still struggling with the Connecticut incident,” she said. “Any gun they have — doesn't matter if it's working or not — they can drop off. Our police department will properly dispose of them.”

Guns may be dropped off at the Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Police Department and the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety. Free gunlocks are available at those locations, as well as Ferrysburg City Hall.

“The gun locks obviously aren't doing anybody any good sitting in a box here,” Burns said. “We want to get them out into the community. People can take as many as they want.”

Burns said she wonders if it would have been a different story in Connecticut last week if the shooter didn't have access to the guns registered in his mother's name.

“It won't fire when the lock is in place,” she said. “Out in Connecticut, if they would have been locked up, and he didn't have the key, he couldn't have fired. There's no excuse to not have guns locked up and safe."

Burns said not everyone can afford a gun safe or gun cabinet. The lock "is an easy and cheap alternative," she said.

Burns said it's important to take action when public sentiment is high.

“Hopefully, people will take us up on this offer and we'll get some guns off the street," she said. "There's no way to quantify if you've saved a life, but let's make sure the guns are safe by putting a lock on them or melting them down. This is one of those things — if you don't act when emotions are running high, it's not nearly as effective.”

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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