OREGON CITY, OR (KPTV) – Oregon City Police are facing scrutiny after the department shared a post on Facebook thanking Oregon City manufacturer Benchmade Knife Company for helping destroy guns.
The post shows sparks flying as heavy machinery cuts into several long guns at Benchmade Knife Company.
The post read: “Thank you Benchmade Knife Company for assisting us today by cutting up guns that are ready to be destroyed.”
This post that @OCPolice took down off Facebook is facing scrutiny for thanking @BenchmadeKnives for helping cut guns - TONIGHT on @fox12oregon I’m talking with PD and the knife manufacturer on the impacts of this post and explaining what PD says is a standard procedure pic.twitter.com/bkHWbe9dJM— Sarah Hurwitz (@sehurwitz) February 22, 2019
“The original post was to thank Benchmade for just assisting us,” Oregon City Police Cpt. Shaun Davis said. “It was nothing more than that.”
That post went viral on social media before Cpt. Davis says the department took it off Facebook.
But that wasn’t before it was screen grabbed and shared all over social media.
Cpt. Davis told FOX 12 on Thursday the post that the department took off Facebook appears to be the same post in a “Truth About Guns” article.
Online people from all over the country claimed it’s a violation of Second Amendment rights and shared harsh words for Benchmade. Some customers even went as far to say they’re boycotting the company.
But Cpt. Davis said the arrangement with Benchmade was simply common procedure.
“These were actually the judge's order saying surrender all firearms to the police department,” Cpt. Davis said. “We came to Benchmade and asked them hey we need to destroy these guns they're too big we need to make them smaller so they can fit into a certain size box to be incinerated. They said sure we've got the equipment that'll be no problem.”
Cpt. Davis says nearly all of the nine long guns cut up by Benchmade were involved in some sort of crime.
He says Oregon City Police do not auction off or sell guns.
“We're not taking away people's guns,” Cpt. Davis said. “Some people were saying that these were gun buybacks, and we've never done a gun buyback. If we did sell a gun legally and it got into the wrong hands or it was used in a violent crime or a murder or something like that and it got traced back to us we would have to answer to the public to say you had this gun and you had an opportunity to get rid of this gun and now look what it did.”
Cpt. Davis says none of the firearms that Benchmade helped destroy were stolen guns, and Oregon City Police do try to return stolen guns to their rightful owners.
Benchmade Director of Marketing Matthew Elliott clarified the company’s role in the arrangement and took a strong stance on Second Amendment rights as well as continuing to support local law enforcement.
“It's not necessarily about the photo it's about the fact that we were engaging in that activity and from our standpoint being the strong supporters that we are of Second Amendment rights we're now like at this point in time understanding the market's response was that strong and really regardless, we're not going to be doing that moving forward,” Elliott said.
But Elliott says the company respects anyone’s First Amendment right to speak out against the company.
“Within sort of the political constructs of today a picture like that with no context related to it especially it's going to draw a strong reaction and it did,” Elliott said.
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