He called the police station to try to get them to take a handgun he found when cleaning up his parents house as they were moving to a retirement community. The operator at the Charlotte Police station told him to take it to a pawnshop or a gun shop and he’d get good money for it. My old friend persisted. He wanted the gun destroyed and the registration marked as such. He hadn’t lived in Charlotte for a long time and in his new home state they were careful to get rid of handguns.
When the officers showed up to take the gun, the first one asked almost kidding but not quite that he be given the gun as a gift. It was a real nice gun.
My friend insisted that the gun be destroyed. The officers looked at him quizzically. Then took the gun and left.
Afterwards I found this article in the New York Post:
GUN SHOPS’ ROTTEN GOODS MAKE FOR SOUR APPLE
By Andy Geller
May 25, 2006 — The nation’s five worst-of-the-worst gun dealers sold weapons that were used in 64 Big Apple crimes, new statistics revealed yesterday.
The majority of the guns, 44, came from the Hyatt Coin & Gun Shop in Charlotte, N.C.
Hyatt, which sold 405 guns used in crimes across the nation last year, was fifth on a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives list of the top five sellers of guns traced to crimes.
Topping the nationwide list is Badger Outdoors of West Milwaukee, Wis., which sold 537 guns. It was followed by Trader Sports of San Leandro, Calif. (447), Elliot’s Small Arms of Jefferson, La. (442) and Don’s Guns and Galleries of Indianapolis (431).
Based on ATF statistics from 1994 to 2001 – the latest available – the center said that in addition to the 44 guns sold by Hyatt used in New York City crimes, Trader Sports sold 11, Don’s Guns sold four, Badger sold three and Elliot’s Small Arms sold two.
And this recent Creative Loafing article about the surge in homicides and in robberies in Charlotte in the past year and a proposal to deal with the problem by getting guns off the street:
Since most of the crimes were gun-related, local, state and federal law enforcement teamed up to target illicit firearms traffickers who were supplying young people with guns.
“In every city where they have done this it has been met with resistance, but ultimately been very successful,” said assistant city manager Keith Parker.
Making an Operation Ceasefire-style program work here would mean dramatically reforming Mecklenburg County’s chaotic, under-funded court system. Removing a city’s worst criminals from the streets requires targeted prosecution and a refusal to plea bargain. For a criminal justice system like Mecklenburg’s, which uses plea bargains to stay afloat, that could prove to be a challenge.
But with gang members moving to the Charlotte area in record numbers, and the city’s homicide rate at a 10-year high of 85, something has to give. After robberies jumped 32 percent in 2005, police learned armed robbery was becoming a gateway crime for young gang members.
Nearly a third of robbery suspects under 18 were identified by police as gang members, while only 11 percent of suspects between 21 and 30 were.