The idea of rare or valuable firearms being destroyed is always painful when you’re a gun person. It’s part of why so many of us hate looking at pictures from gun buybacks throughout the country. In and amongst the trash guns most wouldn’t shoot on a dare, there are occasional treasures that we would trade various body parts for.

However, when police in Chesapeake, VA came across a Strumgewehr 44, the city decided not to be stupid about it.

Virginia’s Chesapeake City Council voted last week to donate rather than destroy a rare World War II firearm believed to have popularized the term “assault rifle.”

The Sturmgewehr 44 (StG44) was developed by German gunsmith Hugo Schmeisser in 1942 and was used by the Nazis through the end of the war. Germany produced about 426,000, but because few ended up on North American shores, NFA-compliant models are worth nearly $30,000.

The Chesapeake Police Department confiscated the StG44 in April of 2009 after finding one in a van involved in several hit-and-runs, according to the Virginian-Pilot. The driver, Eugene McGee, was convicted of felony hit-and-run and had his Second Amendment rights revoked.

But rather than destroy the firearm, the city decided in 2010 to donate it. Police spokesman Leo Kosinski told the Pilot that he isn’t sure why it’s taken so long for the donation to occur, though he suspects that whoever came up with the idea has since retired.

I don’t know what’s taken so long either, but I’m damn glad to see that a piece of history like that isn’t being destroyed because it makes some people feel icky. While I’d rather be able to shoot it myself, the fact that it’s going to a museum is far better than some of the alternatives.

Frankly, I wish we’d see more of these weapons avoiding the scrap heaps and going into responsible hands. In many places, the police will sell confiscated weapons back to the public via local dealers, that tends to not be what happens with buybacks. Then again, that makes sense considering some of those guns at buybacks may well be evidence in criminal cases that are now more difficult to prosecute since there are “no questions asked.”

With that said, though, “removing” guns from circulation has been a thing for a while, but there’s no evidence that it reduces crime in any way, shape, or form. There’s not even slightly convincing speculation that it does, truth be told. After all, the people pushing these are the same people prattling on about the proliferation of guns on our streets, so it’s kind of hard to argue both positions.

Then again, it’s not like people who take that position are known for their intellectual consistency, but for some reason, they stay away from making that claim.

Perhaps they’d be fine with such firearms being relegated to museums, but heaven forbid you, or I, get our hands on such a piece of history. All because some soccer moms think it’s a bad thing.

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