Seattle mayor’s omission: Buyback guns now rebar

SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn apologized Thursday for making a deliberate omission this week when he announced a plan to turn guns from a buyback program into plaques carrying messages of peace.

McGinn left the impression during a news conference on Tuesday that the 700-plus weapons collected at a highly publicized gun buyback in January would be used to make the plaques.

But, as first reported by KIRO-FM, the mayor knew those weapons had already been melted down into rebar.

“I apologize for not being more forthcoming at our press conference,” McGinn said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press. “We will be using metal from guns acquired at our next gun buyback for our Weapons to Words youth outreach effort.”

McGinn said he learned the morning before the news conference that the guns had already been recycled. He said he didn’t explain that at the news conference because “I didn’t want this piece of information to distract from the program or the incredible support” of the sponsors of the program, Schnitzer Steel and the studio of famed glass artist Dale Chihuly.

Instead, the mayor said at the news conference: “We were inspired by the idea that we could take these weapons that were recovered, 750 at the first gun buy back, and do something meaningful with them — something of symbolic importance to our city, particularly after all the incidents of gun violence we have seen in this city over the years.”

The mayor’s news release later Tuesday explained it this way: “The plaques, made from upcycled steel that includes the weapons we recovered, will be placed in Seattle parks.”

Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, a spokesman for Seattle police, said Thursday that the department had the guns melted down due to “a miscommunication.”

The buyback program was announced a month after last December’s elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., by city leaders sick of hearing about gun violence. Private sponsors, including Amazon.com, contributed tens of thousands of dollars so that people could anonymously turn in their weapons for shopping cards worth up to $200. The plan included using the collected guns in a public art project.

More in Local News

Within an hour, 2 planes crash-land at Paine Field

One simply landed hard and went off the end of a runway. Another crash involved unextended landing gear.

Mill Creek’s Donna Michelson ready to retire at year’s end

The city’s longest-serving council member says she has every intention of staying involved.

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Foundation awards grants to Arlington schools

The Arlington Education Foundation on Nov. 13 presented a check to the… Continue reading

Snohomish County firefighters head to California for 18 days

They’re from Fire District 26 in Gold Bar, Getchell Fire and Fire District 7.

State commission reprimands Snohomish County judge for DUI

Judge Marybeth Dingledy had pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a day in jail.

Driver arrested after car strikes pedestrian in Everett

The pedestrian was crossing the road near 12th Street and Broadway. He was injured.

Active Casino Road volunteer honored for work

Molina Healthcare recently honored Jorge Galindo, from Everett, as one of its… Continue reading

Over $12K raised to InspireHER

InspireHER, a local organization that encourages female empowerment, raised over $12,000 at… Continue reading

Most Read