By Tom Travis
A total of 384 guns were destroyed today, the first day on the job for Flint’s new Chief of Police Terence Green.
In July Mayor Neeley had declared, “We will no longer put these weapons back out on the street. It’s just not worth it.” Today that promise was fulfilled by sending confiscated weapons to an incineration facility.
The City of Flint stated in a press release today, “The huge load of weapons were going to be auctioned off, a practice started in 2017 under the previous administration — but Mayor Neeley announced an immediate stop to the practice during a press conference on July 29 with then-Chief Phil Hart. Last year, the city put 1,200 confiscated guns back in circulation through auctions.”
“How much is a life worth?” Mayor Neeley asks
The 1,200 auctioned guns auctioned off last year brought in an average of roughly $150 each, according to the city’s press release.
Instead, today the Police Department delivered the guns to an incineration facility. The 384 guns destroyed today would have translated into $57,600 for the city’s coffers. But in that July press conference, Neeley asked, “We have to ask, how much is a life worth?”
In that same press conference, then Police Chief Phil Hart stated that many of the guns confiscated came from the Special Investigative Unit established as a part of a three-point plan by the city to combat crime:
- the formation of a Special Investigative Unit
- the recruitment of additional officers
- and a “no questions asked” gun buy back program.
Chief Terence Green began today as Chief of Police
New Police Chief Green, a Flint resident and Flint native, is a decorated police officer whose previous experience includes serving as commander of the Genesee County drug enforcement team. Most recently, he served as Mt. Morris Township’s police chief.
“I am proud of our city for taking this strong stance as part of our overall fight to reduce gun violence,” Chief Green said. “It’s good to be home and doing police work in the city I know and love.”
“Selling illegal guns to the highest bidder is simply wrong.” Mayor Neeley said.
“No longer will the City of Flint be an arms dealer,” Neeley continued. “Selling off illegal guns to the highest bidder is simply wrong. It’s unconscionable to think that the City of Flint, where we have been harmed by so much gun violence, would participate in any activity that puts guns back on the street.”
According to a report released in September 2019 by the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, gun violence costs the United States $229 billion annually. In Michigan, gun violence costs $6.9 billion — $696 for every resident, according to the report. Based on that average, the cost of gun violence in the city of Flint is at least triple the revenues of the gun auctions.
EVM assistant editor Tom Travis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org