Benchmade Knife Co., OCPD explain Facebook post
Follow-up explanations by Benchmade Knives and the Oregon City Police Department have attempted to address concerns about the OC-based company helping destroy firearms in police possession.
In a joint statement, OCPD Chief Jim Band and Mayor Dan Holladay wrote that they understood why some of OCPD's Facebook followers were upset with Benchmade because of OCPD's recent post.
"The post did not give everyone the full story on why the guns were required to be destroyed," they wrote.
Band and Holladay said some of the guns that Benchmade destroyed were turned in to OCPD by community members. These citizens no longer wanted the guns and requested that OCPD destroy the firearms.
"We also have guns that are evidence and when a case is adjudicated the guns are ordered by the court to be destroyed," they wrote.
OCPD released the following list of seven firearms that were destroyed by Benchmade in February:
- A hallucinating subject firing a gun inside a residence. The suspect was found guilty of unlawful use of a weapon and reckless endangerment. Judge ordered weapons to be surrendered.
- A SWAT incident involving Hostage Negotiations (Team). A suspect waving a gun in a front yard and firing shots. Crimes involved were unlawful use of a weapon, reckless endangerment and menacing. Judge ordered weapons to be surrendered.
- Suicidal subject, including domestic charges and DUII. Judge ordered weapons to be surrendered.
- Assault I case
- Found property. Homeowner found gun in crawlspace of purchased home, turned the gun over to police.
City officials said that the guns in the Facebook post were required to be destroyed by state law and OCPD policy. OCPD spokesman Shaun Davis said the department returns guns to their rightful owner when possible in cases such as when police confiscate a firearm for safe-keeping or because it had been stolen.
"We also have never done a gun buy back. I have heard this comment out there," Davis said.
OCPD asked Benchmade for the "favor" of destroying the firearms pictured in the Facebook post, according to the city's follow-up explanation. Benchmade's owner said that the favor was granted, out of the company's continued effort to be a "good neighbor."
"Benchmade is a strong supporter of law enforcement and the Oregon City community," Band and Holladay wrote. "We were present when the guns were cut and we took them for final destruction."
An official statement from the company said that OCPD requested the use of specialty equipment within the Benchmade facility to follow requirements for destruction of firearms, and "as a supporting partner of our local police force, we obliged the request."
OCPD's post caused some people to do additional research and call into question the fact that Benchmade owner Les de Asis has been a longtime financial supporter of Democratic politicians who seek to balance safety concerns with the Second Amendment. In addition to federal contributions, state records show that de Asis (a resident of Florida) has contributed more than $20,000 since 2008 to various political campaigns, many Democratic Party members, but also to County Commissioner Paul Savas and former State Rep. Bill Kennemer (R-Canby).
When asked specifically, de Asis stated that he hopes that the Interstate Transport Act, which did not pass in 2018, will be reintroduced to create federal protections for knife owners.
"Our recent political contributions have been in favor of state-level legislation supporting a strong manufacturing and business environment here in Oregon while protecting knife owners across the United States in the form of the Interstate Transport Act," de Asis said.
"We apologize for not informing everyone on the initial post," Band and Holladay wrote. "Benchmade is an excellent company and we urge everyone that had said they no longer support Benchmade to reconsider once they have all the information."