King County Council proposes permanent gun, ammo return program

On Tuesday, King County Council members introduced a proposal that would create a year-round, voluntary gun and ammunition return program within the Sheriff's Office. 

The program would allow any person to take an unwanted firearm, or ammunition, to any precinct office or storefront operated by the King County Sheriff’s office, including in the 10 contract cities where it provides police services.

The legislation proposed on Tuesday "requests the executive to assess the feasibility of a permanent program." 

According to the most recent data available, the county says the number of overall shooting victims was up 70%, and the number of shooting fatalities was up 54% over the 4-year average from 2017 through 2020.

The council pointed to a previous buyback program in 2013, where 716 firearms were surrendered to law enforcement. 

The measure is sponsored by King County Councilmembers Rod Dembowski, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Joe McDermott, and Girmay Zahilay.

"We have policies in place for taking in unwanted firearms, but I look forward to working with the King County Council to consider expanding this into a program that will promote community safety throughout King County," said newly-appointed Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall.