Eye-opening visit to city’s Gun Room reveals scope of problem

BYLINE: SANDRA SHEA, DAILY NEWS EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR
Link to Article

Philadelphia, PA


So many guns get confiscated that City Hall's evidence room can't hold them all; three other locations also store guns. em>(David Miailetti/Daily News)

So many guns get confiscated that City Hall's evidence room can't hold them…

IN MY 20-plus years in this city, there are few places in Philadelphia I haven’t been. Some locations have been beautiful, some depressing, some frightening and some a mix of all three. But I recently found one place in this city that may have changed me forever: the Gun Room in City Hall.

As the seat of government, City Hall has plenty of grand vaulted ceilings and gold leaf, but it also houses ancient courtrooms, dumpy municipal offices - and on an upper floor, a peeling-walled warren of offices housing the police evidence department.

Within the evidence department is a 50-by-70 room that resembles a stockroom of Home Depot, if Home Depot sold weapons: Row upon row of steel shelves, bins and cabinets are stuffed with thousands and thousands of guns. The room is a dense, overgrown forest of rifles, AK-47s, AR15s, Uzis, Mossberg 12-gauge pump rifles and even a few rocket-launchers. The long guns sit on green, metal file cabinets that line the walls. The file cabinets' 300 drawers are stuffed with all makes and models of pistols and handguns. On any given day, the room holds 7,000 to 10,000 guns - all confiscated in crimes committed in the city.

I am not exactly a gun virgin - I have been to a shooting range, and I have a brother who hunts. I've never gone hunting with him, though I've politely inspected his three guns and his crossbow. That's about it for my exposure to actual guns. I am well-versed, however, in the concept of guns. I've written for years about the corrosive, violent gun crime that plagues the city.

The concept of guns - the arguments, the fretting, the hand-wringing over the havoc they cause, the arguments over the Second Amendment - has nothing to do with confronting real guns, especially in the Gun Room. The volume is shocking. In a room with this many guns - dull, ugly man-made objects that exist only to extinguish life - there's just one thing to think about: death. No, that's not exactly right: The volume is so overwhelming that I'm not really thinking at all. It's my lizard brain that's processing this sight - that ancient, preverbal part of the brain that is incapable of higher reasoning, only survival. I think it's telling me to get out of there. There is nothing these guns are good for but death. I wonder how anyone carries a gun without it being a constant, metallic reminder of mortality.

Then again, maybe that's the point.

 


 

Guns in one of Philadelphia's evidence rooms in Philadelphia, Pa. on August 16, 2012. (DAVID MAIALETTI/Staff Photographer)
 
 
 
 
 




Guns in one of Philadelphia's evidence rooms in Philadelphia, Pa. on August 16, 2012. (DAVID MAIALETTI/Staff Photographer)
 
 
 
 
 




Guns in one of Philadelphia's evidence rooms in Philadelphia, Pa. on August 16, 2012. (DAVID MAIALETTI/Staff Photographer)
 
 
 
 
 




Guns in one of Philadelphia's evidence rooms in Philadelphia, Pa. on August 16, 2012. (DAVID MAIALETTI/Staff Photographer)
 
 
 
 
 




Every week, 100 to 200 guns get delivered to the Gun Room from the Firearms Identification Unit. (DAVID MAIALETTI/Staff Photographer)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




File cabinets inside the Gun Room at City Hall are stuffed with scores of pistols and handguns, all confiscated in crimes commited in Philly. (DAVID MAIALETTI/Staff Photographer)
 




Guns in one of Philadelphia's evidence rooms in Philadelphia, Pa. on August 16, 2012. (DAVID MAIALETTI/Staff Photographer)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
International Association for Property and Evidence
"Law Enforcement Serving the Needs of Law Enforcement"
www.IAPE.org
Rate this blog entry:
Freeburg officers fired, some citizens standing by...
Portales PD says they are headed in the right dire...

Related Posts

 

Blotter - Latest News

News By Region

Keywords

stolen marijuana took heroin shelves stolen drug from evidence Vancouver BC unaccouted guns Trial at Riak sheriff sexual assault task force Wichita Police Department State/Province unsolved murder unit trooper arrested Standards tampering with evidence United Kingdom undersheriff stealing gungs side door sting operation Sheriff pleads guilty steal evidnece testing guns stored evidence vault of contraband stolen gun UNTESTED RAPE KITS Wattier stealing cocaine stealing evidence untested sexual assault evidence tampering with public record stolen guns stolen ammunition stolne guns untested sexual kit Signed Out Evidence Untested Sexual Kits urn taking marijuana woochy poochy with holding evidence state audit thieving evidence room cop tampered envelopes tampering with police records state government storage practices untested rape kit snakes stolen cannabis STEALING DRUG MONEY untestted sexual assault kits wrongly convicted unscientific protocols state Division stealing pistols theft of drugs storage bunker stolen bike Year steal money stolen OxyContin temporary locker unaccounted drugs threw away evidence stolen cash sheriffs employee gets jail State trooper accused STOLEN CASH sheriff arrested stealing cash work stealing funs Texas Forensic Science Commission stealing money theft conviction towing scandal trooper accused stored as evidence trial stealing drugs show Ventura County sheriff West Coast theft of evidence Thursday Suicide stolen methamphetamine tampered evidence WRONGFUL CONVICTION Untested rape kit stolen evidence withholding evidence trooper sentenced week Untest rape kits stole evidence technician arrested Sexual assault Survivors Bill of Rights valuable stones untestes rape kits stealing drug Wrongful Conviction state chips Via URL Browse Media Upload Transient property St State Agency Evidence Jobs sloppy evidence control stealing guns skunky aroma wafted untested rape kits untest rape kit tape untested evidence kits Storage stolen cocaine stolen gons state prison strange evidence stealing bills stealing narcotics years of neglect stolen heroin South Dakota Highway Patrolman Theft tapes edited stolen money Thursday.Charles Holifield Wrongful conviction unwanted medications theft of money Stolen pills taking heroin wrongful conviction Washington State Patrol crime lab Tulare Police Sheriff Arrested stolen jewelry statute of limitations stolen drugs stealing drug evidence sheriffs department stolen meth stealing heroin tampered drugs Williams Untested rape kits steal drugs

Search IAPE

  • All
  • Best Practices
  • DEA
  • Drugs
  • NIOSH
  • Default
  • Title