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Police: Assault Weapons not a Factor in Valley Crime

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Posted: Dec 26, 2012 6:07 PM

Updated: Dec 26, 2012 7:18 PM

SAN JUAN - Recent mass shootings throughout the country have led to concerns about the proliferation of assault-type weapons. The alleged trend, however, has not caught on with those committing crimes in the Rio Grande Valley, authorities said.

The San Juan Police Department opened its evidence room to give CHANNEL 5 NEWS a view of the weapons commonly confiscated from people accused of crimes.

The cache of weapons in the evidence room is devoid of assault-type weapons. All of the 12 weapons confiscated during the past three months were handguns.

Local officials said most of the guns are confiscated as a result of a different offense.

"The most common are possession of drugs or unlawful carrying of weapons or guns that are used in aggravated assaults or armed robberies," San Juan Police Chief Juan Gonzalez said.

Many of the guns were never fired.

"The most common guns are your semi-automatics ... from .32- to .45-caliber weapons," Gonzalez said.

The weapons commonly used in the cartel wars across the border aren't the same guns used on our streets, Gonzalez said.

"We don't see those AK-47- or MK-(type) weapons," he said.

The weapons the department recovers after an actual shooting, most of the time were not used on strangers.

"Most often than not, it's someone who has a relation to the victim. It's either a friendship, business," Gonzalez said.

"The majority of these weapons, the individual only fired it once since they've owned the weapons," Gonzalez said.

Police admit that the weapons are not the reason for the deaths. They said tempers, alcohol and drugs often lead to the violence and the use of the guns.

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