Owasso couple donates $30,725 for rifles for police
BY RHETT MORGAN World Staff Writer
Thursday, January 24, 2013
1/24/13 at 8:24 AM
OWASSO - An Owasso couple donated $30,725 on Wednesday to the Police Department to buy 30 rifles.
The money from Barbara and Lynn Owens, who own Frontier International Trucks in Tulsa, will be used to buy Colt M4 carbines with flashlight mounts and flashlights.
The rifles also are known as AR-15s.
Sensitive to the Sandy Hook tragedy, Lynn Owens said talk of the donation began in October, well before a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at the Connecticut elementary school Dec. 14.
"I have grandchildren here. I have children here," he said at a news conference Wednesday at City Hall.
"I have a lot of friends. We just figured it would be better if we figured out some way to make everybody safe. It's an issue with everybody today.
He added: "This is the one gift that Barbara and I hope is never used. ... But it offers something that Owasso doesn't have."
Patrol officers, school resource officers and members of the department's SWAT team will be assigned the weapons, which are designed to be accurate at long range.
"This particular rifle is going to bring a precision capability to our officers at much greater distances as compared to the handguns and the shotguns that they carry now," Interim Police Chief Scott Chambless said.
He added that they provide bolstered maneuverability and firepower in active-shooter situations.
Twenty-five of the guns will be semiautomatics, with the rest having select fire and full automatic capability, Chambless said. On select fire, the weapon can discharge two- to three-round bursts with each pull of the trigger, he said. Fully automatic weapons fire until the trigger is released.
The SWAT team comprises 16 patrol officers, Chambless said.
Owens said he was inspired by an April Tulsa World column written by Jay Cronley, who urged people to give where they live.
"We believe in that," Owens said. "We give where we live - eastern Oklahoma, here, Tulsa, wherever.
"The gun is to protect our officers. They are to keep the officers safe so that when we need help, we can get help without an officer getting hurt," he said.
"We never appreciate our officers, and we never tell them. This is a deal from us to say thank you to all of our police officers."
The rifles will be purchased in early February, with their arrival dependent on availability.
City Manager Rodney Ray said: "Owasso has a wonderful community. But it can be a great community if other people emulate what the Owens family has done today. It means everything.
"Today, it means we're going to offer better protection," he added.
"But tomorrow, it may mean somebody will donate that money to the park, and maybe the next day, to the Fire Department. Who knows what can happen?"
Original Print Headline: Pair's cash will buy 30 rifles for Owasso police
Rhett Morgan 918-581-8395
Barbara and Lynn Owens of Owasso speak Wednesday at a news conference about their $30,725 donation to the Police Department. The money will be used to buy 30 rifles. RHETT MORGAN/Tulsa World
Pictured is the Colt M4 Carbine, the type of rifle that will be purchased with an Owasso couple's donation of $30,725 to the Police Department. RHETT MORGAN/Tulsa World