PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York have inspired some people to give up their firearms.

But how exactly can a person go about doing that? Is it as easy as walking into a police department, placing the gun on a counter and walking away?

KOIN 6 News asked law enforcement agencies in parts of Oregon and Southwest Washington how people can surrender their firearms and what happens to the guns once they’re in the hands of an officer.

Here are the responses we received:

Portland Police Bureau 

People can call Portland Police Bureau’s non-emergency number (503) 823-333 to surrender their guns. Members of the public may surrender a firearm for destruction to any on-duty sworn member at any precinct. After the guns are surrendered to the bureau, they go to the property room and in general, they’ll be destroyed. 

However, there are some exceptions. If the firearm was determined to be involved in a crime, then PPB will hold onto it as evidence. 

Years ago, PPB said it held some successful gun turn-in events with Ceasefire Oregon and there have been some discussions about doing something similar again in the future.  

Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. 

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office does not have a voluntary gun turn-in program. However, like many other police departments and sheriff’s offices in the area, if a person in the community wants to turn-in their firearms, it will try to accommodate them. The sheriff’s office has a Gun Dispossession Unit that works with court-ordered respondents, who possess firearms, to help them surrender their guns for safekeeping during the length of the order. From January 1 to May 17, 2022, 86 firearms had been surrendered to MCSO through the Gun Dispossession program. 

The sheriff’s office said in 2020, 29 guns were turned in voluntarily for destruction in 2020 and in 2021, there were 61. 

MCSO shared an example of a recent surrender in April when relatives of a family member who had passed away asked deputies to take possession of and destroy 105 firearms the decedent had left behind. 

Beaverton Police Department 

The Beaverton Police Department treats all guns turned in by their owners as “property for destruction.” The police department holds surrendered firearms in a secure facility for 90 days and then they are destroyed. 

Hillsboro Police Department

The Hillsboro Police Department says it’s as simple as calling ahead (preferably) and setting up an appointment with the property/evidence unit to surrender firearms. Their non emergency number is (503) 629-0111. 

After the police department receives the guns, they contact a company in the Salem area that melts the guns in an extreme temperature furnace. Police say this is the same furnace they use for disposing of all the illegal drugs and legal prescription medications that are turned in. They also use it to dispose of old police uniforms. 

Washington County Sheriff’s Office 

If someone wants to turn in their firearms for destruction, they can call the Washington County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number (503) 629-0111 and tell the dispatcher they’d like a deputy to stop by their home so they can submit their firearms for destruction. Community members can also give gun accessories and ammunition to deputies. 

A deputy will coordinate with the person to retrieve the guns and will provide them with a receipt for the guns. 

The deputy will then submit the guns to the evidence unit for destruction.  

Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office 

Anyone living in Clackamas County can turn in unloaded firearms to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. Anyone interested in surrendering their guns should call the non-emergency number at (503) 655-8211 in advance to make arrangements. 

Vancouver Police Department 

The Vancouver Police Department says the process is simple. People can bring an unwanted firearm to either precinct during regular business hours and police will accept them. The police department asks people to make sure their guns are unloaded before they bring them in. People can also surrender any ammunition they have. 

All surrendered firearms are destroyed. 

Marion County Sheriff’s Office

To voluntarily surrender firearms to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, people in the area should call the non-emergency dispatch number at (503) 588-5032 and tell the dispatcher they have a firearm they’d like to turn in.

From there, a deputy will contact the community member and arrange to meet when them. When the person hands over their gun to law enforcement, the deputy will give them a property receipt for the firearms they turn in.

The firearms are taken to the MCSO Evidence Unit for disposal.

The sheriff’s office said these types of surrenders do not happen frequently, but seem to be most common after the owner of the firearm has died and surviving relatives do not wish to keep the guns.

Editor’s note: A previously published version of this article stated the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office has a voluntary gun turn-in program. The sheriff’s office does not have a voluntary turn-in program. KOIN 6 News regrets the error and any confusion it may have caused.