Back in 2009, Chesapeake Police Department seized a fully-automatic, undocumented Sturmgewehr 44. Now they want to donate it to the US Navy’s Naval History and Heritage Command.
The antique World War Two assault rifle came into police possession in April 2009, when it was discovered, along with a magazine holding 26 rounds, in the back of Eugene McGee’s van. McGee had been involved in multiple hit and runs and was charged with felony hit-and-run, driving under the influence and possession of a machine gun.
Speaking to local news McGee confirmed later that the StG 44 had belonged to his grandfather, a World War Two veteran who brought it home to Iowa from Europe. The gun was passed on after McGee’s grandfather’s death in 1972 and McGee admitted that: “I’m not proud of how it got confiscated, but I’m proud of him.”
After McGee’s sentencing in 2009, the rifle was forfeited to the state and it was originally planned to be donated the Virginia War Museum. However, nearly a decade on Chesapeake PD still has the rifle probably because undocumented rifles cannot be sold or donated to anyone other than a government entity – like the Naval History and Heritage Command. Leo Kosinski, a police spokesman, explained that normally guns seized as evidence cannot be returned to their owners and are ground up in a metal shredder and recycled. Thankfully, this will not be the fate of Chesapeake PD’s StG 44.
Following a vote by the Chesapeake City Council the rifle should be cleared to transfer to the Naval History and Heritage Command. The command has a number of sites open to the public including 10 museums, a library, heritage centre and responsibility for a number of historic vessels including the USS Constitution and USS Nautilus.
Dave Manning, the command’s curator of small arms and ordnance said he learned of the weapon’s potential donation last year and said that they were interested in acquiring the rifle because of its historical technological significance, saying: “We have all of the weapons that came afterward that were based on this design. But we don’t have one of these [an StG 44].”
‘Chesapeake Police seized a German assault rifle. Now they want to donate it’, Virginian Pilot, retrieved 12/06/18 from source