A downtown Phoenix coffee-shop owner turned his two guns over to Phoenix police on Tuesday, hoping to send a message about guns in America following Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Jonathan Pring, 36, who owns the coffee shop with his wife, said he called the Phoenix Police Department on Tuesday to ask if an officer could come pick up his Walther Arms PK380 and Ruger 10/22 tactical rifle.
Pring told The Arizona Republic he was motivated by the Las Vegas mass shooting that killed 59 people and injured more than 500 on Sunday night.
“Who doesn’t love Las Vegas?” Pring said. “I couldn’t sleep last night. I was watching news and on Facebook and seeing lots of different posts … and I was just mad … I thought, ‘You know what, I’m going to do something.’ “
Pring said he called Phoenix police and asked them to come and pick up his guns. He could tell the two police officers who arrived were “anxious” about entering the home of someone who declared having guns.
“I think they (the police) thought I was going crazy,” Pring said.
Eventually, though, the officers relaxed, Pring said.
“They said, ‘We appreciate you phoning us and dealing with this as you have and we think you’re the sort of person who should have guns instead of these other maniacs,’ ” Pring said.
“I said, ‘I respect that and I appreciate that, but you got to start somewhere and I’m starting today, right here.’ “
Phoenix police Sgt. Jonathan Howard confirmed Pring’s account of turning over his guns.
“Phoenix police will accept guns that people no longer want,” Howard said. “The guns will be tested and entered into NIBIN, which will allow us to compare them with known crime guns. In accordance with state law, the guns are then sold.”
NIBIN — National Integrated Ballistic Information Network — is a national computer database of firearms and related ballistic evidence. It was established by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and is shared by law-enforcement agencies across the country.
Pring originally is from England, having moved from London to Phoenix 10 years ago at the encouragement of a friend who had relocated to Arizona.
Guns for Pring were a novelty, something he had “only seen in James Bond movies” prior to coming to the United States, he said.
Once here, he thought it was “cool as hell” to be able to walk into a gun store and walk out with a rifle.
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That’s why, when another friend came to visit from England, Pring wanted to do something they could only do here.
“What do you do when your buddy from England is in town and you’re in Phoenix, Arizona? Yee-haw, we went to the gun show,” Pring said.
Pring and his friend were “like kids in a candy store” at the show and ecstatic about their new purchases, he said.
“We did some poses, we went to the gun range, we went out in the desert and we blew some stuff up,” Pring said. “It was a novelty.”
But as the years went on and Pring got married and started raising a now 4-year-old child, he said he didn’t see the usefulness of having a gun around anymore.
“I’m not a scared man and I don’t feel like I need a gun to protect myself,” Pring said. “I just bought a baseball bat. If a burglar wants to come into my house, I’ll take care of him the old-fashioned way.”
Pring also said he worried his child would be able to get a hold of the gun, which he said was previously on a high shelf that his son would grow tall enough to reach eventually.
Pring said he hopes more people take action to prevent gun violence, but said he knows it’s a big order to ask people to surrender their guns.
“Americans more than other nationalities really love their guns,” Pring said. “I think we just need to change the dynamic a little bit because the facts are the facts. More people die from gun-related injuries in the U.S. than any other country.”
Pring said he could have sold his gun at a pawn shop to get some money out of it, having shelled out $2,000 when he purchased them at the gun show, but said he thought turning the guns over to police made a more powerful statement.
It’s a statement that he hopes makes a difference in the years to come so that his son doesn’t have to grow up in a world where mass shootings are the norm.
“That way when he’s in Vegas when he’s 21, he doesn’t have to worry about getting shot at a music festival,” Pring said.
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