How to Dispose of Your Gun

I bought a handgun a few years ago because I thought it might come in handy in case of an emergency. I live in Philadelphia and I was worried that if a Katrina-like event happened here, that there would be gangs running around killing and looting, and I wanted to be prepared in case something like that happened.

In addition, I lived in West Philly and I had come in contact with some people who seemed dangerous and who had threatened me, and I wanted to have a gun so that I could shoot them if they tried to break into my apartment.

Handgun Image

Getting a Permit

I looked up the laws around handguns for Philadelphia, and realized that if I were to ever shoot the gun at someone, I should probably have a gun permit, and I should only do it if someone broke into my place.

I applied and received a permit to carry a handgun. But I didn't carry the gun around - I kept it locked and unloaded in my apartment.

The Firing Range

To get some shooting experience, I went to the firing range with my sister - women shoot for free on Wednesday nights. She was too scared to shoot it, though. I was scared shooting it. It was really loud and very powerful. It was made for killing people.

A couple of rows down was an Hasidic Jewish man with his young daughter (maybe 10 years old), and she was practicing shooting the gun.

I felt inadequate as a man after shooting it - my hand shook out of fear when I fired the gun. I realized it would be much harder to shoot someone than I thought.

But thankfully I never shot the gun at anyone.

Getting Rid of a Gun

Eventually I started to feel that owning a gun was not consistent with my beliefs.

But how do you dispose of a gun? It's not easy to figure this out. I searched online and didn't get much help. I couldn't find any instructions about how to dispose of a gun - it seemed that people got rid of guns by either selling them or giving them away.

I decided I didn't want to sell it because I didn't want to make money from selling a gun. I thought about giving it to my cousin, because he likes to collect guns, but I didn't want to be responsible for him hurting himself or others with it.

A friend suggested that I throw it in the river, and I came close to doing this, since I didn't really know what to do and this was the easiest solution. But my wife talked me out of it.

Police Image

Finally, I decided to take the gun to the police department. The police officers I spoke with were very nice and considerate. I told them I wanted to dispose of the gun because I "had become more religious." I could tell that this isn't something that happened often, but they took it and gave me a receipt. I also gave them my gun permit and told them I didn't want it anymore.

The next day a police officer called and said he liked my gun and that he wanted to buy the gun from me. I told him that I didn't want to sell it, but he could just have it if he wanted it. I reasoned that, although it would be wrong to give the gun to my cousin, it wasn't wrong to give the gun to the police, since I do and have relied on their protection.

He was supposed to pick me up the following day to take me to a gun shop to transfer ownership, but he cancelled and said they were just going to dispose of the weapon.

A few months later I got a certified letter from the police department - a "revocation of license to carry a firearm." The box checked as the reason for revocation was "Good Cause."