Rocket launchers raise eyebrows at gun swap - FOX 35 News Orlando

Rocket launchers raise eyebrows at gun swap

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Thousands of guns were turned into the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office over the weekend, in exchange for cash and Tampa Bay Rays and Lightning tickets.

During Operation Gun Swap, deputies were handed rifles, handguns -- and even two rocket launchers. All of the weapons were collected by the sheriff's office with no questions asked.

Believe it or not, the most dangerous-looking of the weapons may be the least. Headquarters Military Surplus owner Kevin Perkins says the items described as rocket launchers are essentially just empty shells.

"They're mostly made of fiberglass. Once they're fired, they're not reloaded. They're a one-shot deal," Perkins said Monday.

Most are from the Vietnam-era and are largely collectibles...more for display, than for posing any real danger.

"If you dropped it on your toe, maybe, other than that you're fine," Perkins laughed.

The sheriff's office is still working to sort through Saturday's findings. They will work with federal investigators to evaluate everything turned in, including a flute that was transformed into a handmade gun.

While some of the items, including the rocket launchers, are valuable, the sheriff's office won't see a dime back for the weapons.

"These weapons at some point in time will all be melted down," said Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Captain Chad Chronister.

The sheriff's office paid for the gun buy back program through private donations and through their Seizure Asset Fund. The Rays and Lightning donated the $70,000 worth of tickets.

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