Honolulu PD Destroys $575K Worth of S&W Pistols, Some Brand New

photo from foxnews.com.

Normally, when a police department in the U.S. switches to a new carry gun, they auction off the retired weapons that are in good shape, or sell them to the public. Apparently, that's not how things are done out in the Aloha State.

Honolulu officials decided to destroy over a half-million dollars worth of Smith & Wesson 9mm handguns, including at least 200 that were brand-new in the box, according to this story from FoxNews.com. , which doesn't specify the exact model.

All in all, about 2,300 S&W pistols were destroyed after the 2,200-member police force upgraded to the less-expensive Glock 17 handgun.

"Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the Honolulu Police Department agreed that they would not allow the guns to be sold to the general public and end up on the streets of Honolulu," police spokesperson Michelle Yu told FoxNews.com. "The same goes for selling individual gun parts that could have been used to assemble a gun."

Hawaii News Now reported that, if the guns were sold with mandatory background checks run on purchasers, the city could have made $575,000. Some police officers were even interested in buying old service weapons for personal use, but were not allowed, though the department had allowed officers to buy previously-phased out weapons. Instead, they were melted down.

Yu said no other departments were interested in the guns, including the Hawaii State Sheriff's department, which uses Smith & Wesson pistols. However, the sheriff's department said no offer of a donation was made from the HPD.

Destroying working firearms, as well as valuable taxpayer property, was "the height of anti-gun stupidity and will not stop one criminal from getting a weapon," said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation. "These guns in the hands of lawful civilians could provide an important means of self-defense, especially for low income people who can't afford them. Or the sale of them could help pay for much-needed law enforcement equipment to help keep the public safe."

"There is no reason why these firearms couldn't be used by law enforcement or sold to law-abiding citizens, the proceeds of which could go to much-needed infrastructure, programs, training, etc," she said.

The department reportedly discussed several options with city lawyers. If the guns were sold with no restrictions on their future use, they would have brought in $250 each, for the $575,000 figure.

City and police officials said they didn't want the guns ending up "on the streets." But, according to the department's own figures, if the guns were sold only to members of law enforcement, they still would have generated $150 each, or about $345,000.

Even if the guns were sold for parts, the city would have made $230,000.

In a letter to Mayor Caldwell, the Hawaii Rifle Association's President Harvey Gerwig, along with Lessons in Firearms Education President Bill Richter said, "In these times of lean budgets and continual cost-cutting to needed city services, to throw away a half-a-million dollars seems senseless."

"The reason your office and HPD gave for not selling to the public seemed to be a slight on those legal gun owners who would have purchased them and who supported you during your election," the letter stated. "You should be ashamed for suggesting that the good citizens of Hawaii cannot be trusted with buying HPD's surplus guns for fear of them falling into criminal hands when record numbers of firearms have been bought by those same citizens for the last ten years without any such problems."

Over the past 15 years, the number of guns registered in Hawaii increased dramatically. Stats from the Hawaii Attorney General's Office show that 420,409 firearms were registered from 2000 to 2014, in addition to the already existing one million firearms in a state that as a population of about 1.4 million, according to the story.

Hawaii has one of the lowest gun-death rates in the nation.