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Police have seized on average one gun every other day from the streets of Danville so far this year, and on Friday, they told stories behind several of the guns, one of which was found by children while playing near a playground.
The message behind the stories told was clear: Illegal firearms must be kept out of the hands of people that would do others harm.
“I have been here for a little more than a month now and something that has resonated with me is the amount of illegal firearms we have here on the streets,” Police Chief Scott Booth said at a news conference held at the Municipal Building. “We are going to take more firearms off the streets.
“Our main purpose is to keep people from getting hurt and to reduce violent crime in the city. That is what we are here for.”
To date, approximately 35 illegal firearms have been seized in 2018. Many of them were on display on a table Friday.
Booth said the Police Department, along with its federal and state partners, is working aggressively to get illegal guns off the street. He said community input has been invaluable in the department’s efforts.
“A lot of these seizures never would have happened without input from people who are concerned about firearms and drugs in their neighborhood,” Booth said.
The guns on display ranged from hunting rifles and shotguns to small pistols.
“Any firearm can cause somebody some harm whether it is a .22 (caliber handgun) or an AR-15 (semi-automatic rifle),” Booth said. “They come in all shapes and sizes.”
Booth and his command staff also issued another plea to the public to secure their firearms whether in their home or vehicle.
While many firearms are reported stolen during residential burglaries, a significant number is stolen from vehicles by individuals who walk through neighborhoods pulling door handles to find unlocked vehicles. Once an unlocked vehicle is found, they search the interior, including the console, glove box and under the seats, for a firearm or anything of value.
“If you leave a firearm in your car, in your glovebox, and they find it, it doesn’t matter to them (the type of weapon),” Maj. Eddie Burke said, “They will take whatever you leave out there and use it.”
Police urge citizens who leave a firearm in their vehicle to place it in a locked box in the trunk.