A Miami city commissioner with his eyes on Congress orchestrated a gun buyback in South Florida with aims of putting those firearms in the hands of Ukrainians for self-defense, boasting of 167 weapons ready for transfer – including confiscated ones.
Democratic city commissioner Ken Russell is taking a second crack at a run for the House of Representatives for his district and, true to his party’s current platform, he demonstrated greater interest in protecting the people of Ukraine than those of Miami. In a press conference from Miami City Hall Tuesday, he was joined by Miami police chief Manuel Morales to tout the successes of their Guns 4 Ukraine initiative.
The program, which took place throughout the month of June, had faced criticism from skeptics due to International Traffic in Arms Regulations as reported by The Washington Post. However, Russell had maintained it was “possible through the right channels where those who have the license to export can do this in conjunction with the federal government,” and his efforts led to the announcement that Irpin, Ukraine would now be considered a sister city and that the collected arms would be transported to their police department within the coming weeks.
“A lot of people don’t understand, why would somebody want to give up their guns. These are people that had guns in their house that no longer wanted them. We don’t ask any questions, but we’re happy to take them out of their homes, because that way, it’s one gun that may not fall into the hands of someone, or even a kid, and get misused,” Russell said at the press conference ahead of the transfer despite having no way of knowing whose hands these firearms may ultimately end up in.
Promoted as a “no questions asked” event, Miami police were able to collect a reported 68 firearms offering $50 for handguns, $100 for shotguns and $150 for rifles.
It’s not to late to turn in your firearm, No questions asked!
— Miami PD (@MiamiPD) June 18, 2022
“We really didn’t know what to expect. But we came out here, the community came out, and showed great support for us,” Morales explained as they encouraged other cities to engage in similar programs.
It was stipulated that of the total 167 firearms being transferred to the Irpin police, many were confiscated. However, no mention of the reason for those confiscations was disclosed.
@kenforflorida and @cityofmiami
Chief of Police Manuel Morales, held a press conference today at City Hall to announce a new Sister City partnership with city of Irpin, Ukraine. This city will be the recipient of 167 guns collected during the Gun Buyback Program. #gunsforukraine pic.twitter.com/HxDWekmFz7
— City of Miami (@CityofMiami) July 19, 2022
Meanwhile, Russell’s campaign website continued to peddle the myth of the so-called “gun show loophole” as an agenda item that he seeks to address should he be elected to Congress. He has also repeatedly used the undefined term “assault weapon” to promote infringements upon the Second Amendment in the wake of recent tragedies.
It’s extremely hard to find the words to post about #buffalo. I’m calling on Congress because we need an assault weapons ban NOW. Today, I’m heartbroken and angry…Angry that the GOP is still working to block even the most basic gun safety measures. We must do better.
— Ken Russell (@kenforflorida) May 15, 2022
In response to further criticism that these weapons would not stand up to the aggression of the Russian military invading Ukraine, the city commissioner stated, “Some would say we are stepping out of our bounds as a city to take this on,” before contending, “This is for average folks on the ground and the municipality employees, just like ourselves.”
“The real need for the weapons was not the military, for fellow police officers that are putting their life on the line as they would in any other country, fighting to keep their community safe, while fighting to keep their citizens alive.”
Morales added, “How many lives were saved today by this event, we’ll never know.”
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