Amnesty gun dropoff

The Omaha Police Department partnered with local law enforcement agencies in Omaha and Council Bluffs to collect dozens of guns and several hundred pounds of ammunition in its annual amnesty day.

Omaha and Council Bluffs authorities granted a one-day amnesty Saturday for people with guns, ammunition, fireworks and other explosives.

Residents dropped off fireworks and guns they no longer wanted — no questions asked — at three different locations: Omaha Fire Station No. 43 at 5505 N. 103rd St.; Seymour Smith Park near 72nd and Harrison Streets; and the west parking lot of the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office in Council Bluffs.

Sgt. Matt Manhart, bomb squad commander for the Omaha Police Department, said authorities collected 77 guns, about 700 pounds of various ammunition, 900 pounds of fireworks as well as smoke grenades and riot gas. The items from all three sites were brought to the city impound lot near 78th and F Streets to be tallied.

The 77 guns was the highest total the event has collected in its more than a decade of existence.

At the Seymour Smith Park site, pistols, rifles, grenades and fireworks sat in and on barrels, tables, boxes and tubs.

Manhart said turnout was good. He said he was glad to ease the public’s mind by taking unwanted fireworks and guns off the streets, preventing firework injuries and keeping guns from falling into the wrong hands.

“Anything we can do to kind of give them that warm, fuzzy feeling, that’s what we want to do,” Manhart said.

July 4 was the last day Omaha residents could legally use consumer fireworks. Authorities will destroy all collected items, excluding stolen guns, which will be returned to their owners, if possible.

An Omaha woman who wished to remain anonymous said she was at the park dropping off fireworks left over from the Fourth of July. It was her first time utilizing the amnesty day. She said she was worried about keeping them in her garage.

“I didn’t want my house to burn down if those things were to ignite by whatever reason,” she said.

The Rev. Charles Davis, pastor at Spirit Life Assemblies of God Church at 48th and Harrison Streets, unloaded several boxes of lanterns and fireworks from his car at the site.

Davis said the church runs a fireworks stand each year. In past years, the church struggled to find places to dispose of the leftovers or fireworks that became illegal to sell after the stand had acquired them.

“I’m just glad they had this,” Davis said.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1304, news@owh.com

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