Sheriff's swap of an antique for new guns is nearly done
By DAVID C. SHAMPINE
TIMES STAFF WRITER
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30, 2008
The gun swap arranged by Jefferson County Sheriff John P. Burns has neared completion.
Seventeen Bushmaster semiautomatic carbines were delivered Monday to the sheriff's department, with slings, scopes and ammunition soon to follow.
In return, Sheriff Burns will be handing over to his supplier, Amchar Wholesale of Rochester, one gun — a 1920 Thompson .45-caliber fully automatic submachine gun. Better known as a "Tommy gun," the antique has an appraised value of $30,000, the sheriff said.
The new weaponry has about the same value.
Sheriff Burns disclosed his negotiations for the trade in January, and two months later, the county Legislature's General Services Committee gave its blessing.
The original arrangement was for the department to receive 16 new guns, but Amchar Wholesale added one more for display purposes, the sheriff said.
Ten carbines will become part of the arsenal for the Sheriff's Emergency Response Team, or SERT, and six will be available for deputies to take on routine road patrol, he said. Training with the new guns will begin during the second week of May, Sheriff Burns said.
Deputies currently take shotguns in their patrol cars, and they will still have that option, he said.
The new guns are useful for both short-range and long-range shooting, he said.
"We need them because times are changing around here," Mr. Burns said. "There have been several incidents here recently."
He pointed to an incident off Floral Drive in April 2006 involving an armed man in a field.
"We knew he had rifles, and we didn't have the firepower to reach him if we needed it," he said.