Sickened by Sandy Hook killings, Napa man gives up three guns

2012-12-18T18:20:00Z 2012-12-19T22:05:19Z Sickened by Sandy Hook killings, Napa man gives up three gunsHOWARD YUNE Napa Valley Register
December 18, 2012 6:20 pm  • 

When Val Dinkel heard the radio news flash on the mass shooting at a Connecticut primary school, his feelings of grief and outrage were familiar. So, too, was his decision on how to react.

Within days of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, Dinkel had turned over his gun collection to police for destruction. On Friday, with 26 more people, including 20 children, dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, the Napa resident remembered the three firearms a friend had given him — and resolved no one should ever use them again.

They were a single-shot .22-caliber rifle and two BB guns, hardly the largest or most imposing weapons stash. But the 62-year-old Dinkel, a retired furniture maker with a 6-year-old daughter, called Napa police hours after the Newtown massacre to have his weapons taken away and destroyed. His request was transferred to the Napa County Sheriff’s Office, which took custody of the guns on Tuesday, according to sheriff’s Capt. Tracey Stuart.

“It’s nothing to capture headlines with, but it serves a symbolic purpose,” Dinkel said Tuesday morning. “It’s my little monument to the people of Connecticut, to show that there’s one individual who cares.

“It could be a $25,000 rifle for all I care, but I don’t want to sell it; I want to get it off the street so it never has a chance to harm anyone,” said Dinkel, who added that a Napa friend gave him the guns before moving to Mexico. “I’d want the rest of America to do the same thing and get rid of unnecessary guns.”

Once a recreational target shooter, Dinkel had accumulated about a dozen guns by the time of the shooting deaths of 13 people by two Columbine students in Littleton, Colo. Shortly afterward, he gave up the collection to police in Riverside, then his home.

In repeating the gesture 13 years later, Dinkel hoped enough people would follow suit to put some dent in the gun supply, and perhaps prevent the Connecticut deaths from being entirely in vain.

“I wish people in Napa would take the responsibility and say, ‘We want to collect 1,000 guns in memory of these families and have them destroyed,’” he said. “If I had lost my child, it would make me feel a little better if something was accomplished.”

Voluntary surrenders of guns are rare in Napa County and usually happen after a resident’s death if relatives don’t want to keep them, according to Stuart, of the sheriff’s office. Such weapons are transferred to a contractor for destruction, but the agency may hold onto the weapons for several months before shipping them out, she said.

Nationally, the outlines of a new debate on gun control have begun to take shape. On Tuesday, Jay Carney, spokesman for President Barack Obama, said curbing gun violence is a complex problem that will require a “comprehensive solution.”

Carney did not offer specific proposals or a timeline. He said Obama will meet with law enforcement officials and mental health professionals in coming weeks.

Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut’s junior U.S. senator and a former state attorney general, joined the debate, saying the type of assault rifle used in the killings should be banned. He said restrictions on assault weapons are sensible regulations that will not infringe on the constitutional right to own guns.

As voices supporting tighter firearms restrictions multiply, gun sellers and advocates have been largely silent. Employees at two Napa gun shops, Darin’s Gun Exchange and Sweeney’s Sport Store, declined comment on Tuesday.

Later Tuesday, the National Rifle Association broke a four-day public silence, releasing a statement to announce a press conference Friday in Washington, D.C. to address the Newtown killings and promising “meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.”

The NRA, which claims some 4 million members, had taken down its Facebook page and stopped Twitter updates since 9:36 a.m. Eastern time on Friday — about the same time as the Sandy Hook massacre.

Two major national gun sellers have distanced themselves from the Bushmaster AR-15 semiautomatic rifle — a civilian version of the M-16 used by the U.S. military — that police say Adam Lanza, 20, used to kill 20 schoolchildren and six educators before killing himself.

The Nation reported Wal-Mart Stores Inc. wiped the weapon’s page from its website on Monday, as the magazine was going to press with an article on the discount chain’s role in selling the AR-15 and other firearms.

On Tuesday, Dick’s Sporting Goods, a chain with stores in 44 states, suspended sales of the AR-15 and other “modern sporting rifles,” as it calls semiautomatic weapons, from its online and retail shops. The Danbury News Times reported Dick’s has withdrawn all firearms from its store in Danbury, Conn., the branch closest to Newtown.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Copyright 2015 Napa Valley Register. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(17) Comments

  1. kevin
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    kevin - December 19, 2012 5:33 am
    Good for Val. That's what should happen; if you don't know how to properly store or use your guns, you should not possess them...
  2. rocketman
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    rocketman - December 19, 2012 6:47 am
    As a human being, you can be whatever you want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision. If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you. If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior’s path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.
  3. rocketman
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    rocketman - December 19, 2012 6:47 am
    Gavin de Becker puts it like this in “Fear Less”, his superb post-9/11 book, which should be required reading for anyone trying to come to terms with our current world situation: “…denial can be seductive, but it has an insidious side effect. For all the peace of mind deniers think they get by saying it isn’t so, the fall they take when faced with new violence is all the more unsettling.” Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on some level. And so the warrior must strive to confront denial in all aspects of his life, and prepare himself for the day when evil comes. If you are warrior who is legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that the bad man will not come today.

    Good luck Mr. Dinkel.......
  4. glenroy
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    glenroy - December 19, 2012 7:13 am
    His right to do as he desires….
  5. napamike123
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    napamike123 - December 19, 2012 8:08 am
    I find the logic of protecting yourself with a gun to be so backwards and full of fear. A gun does not protect you unless you carry it in your hand and know when someone is going to to attack you. Do you sleep with both eyes open? It is sad that those that use the logic of taking away guns as taking away their security, when you really have nothing to worry about if guns are obsolete. Fear will destroy you. Let it go!
  6. MyWrites
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    MyWrites - December 19, 2012 8:17 am
    Either, or...nothing in between rocketman? Assume you visualize yourself as a "warrior"? Do you feel naked without a weapon? Into survivalist training and waiting for the rapture? I assume you consider Mr. Dinkel a sheep?

    Maybe the route Mr. Dinkel takes saves more lives than creating an armed combat zone that America has become. Do you really want everyone around you packing a concealed weapon? Do you want your teachers to all carry pieces and maybe the students also? At what age shall we begin to arm them?

    Good luck Mr. Rocketman...most of America and law enforcement no longer share your views.

  7. rpcv
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    rpcv - December 19, 2012 10:27 am
    Mr. Dinkel, congratulations on your courageous and thoughtful action.
    MyWrites and napamike123, I have nothing to add to your wise commentaries.
  8. rocketman
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    rocketman - December 19, 2012 10:46 am
    "Into survivalist training and waiting for the rapture?"

    "Maybe the route Mr. Dinkel takes saves more lives than creating an armed combat zone that America has become."

    "Do you really want everyone around you packing a concealed weapon?"

    "Do you want your teachers to all carry pieces and maybe the students also?"

    Sorry Mywrites..........but I didn't write or expouse any of that.........that's all in your mind........
  9. rocketman
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    rocketman - December 19, 2012 10:48 am
    Your comments are illogical and have no bearing on police officers run around all day with guns in their hands????????
  10. rocketman
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    rocketman - December 19, 2012 12:33 pm
    Yes, denial and illogical comments will keep you safe.........
  11. tripnote
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    tripnote - December 19, 2012 12:40 pm
    100% on the money. If you're not a responsible gun owner with your guns locked down you shouldn't own one.
  12. countryboy
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    countryboy - December 19, 2012 5:35 pm
    "Do you sleep with both eyes open?" No I sleep like a rock,the german shepherd at the end of my bed sleeps with both eyes open.
    " really have nothing to worry about if guns are obsolete." I can't believe that you would say that because that will never happen. Thats like saying the government is going to stop spending money and balance a budget.

    People are free to do as they chose and I will keep mine. Why is it that Fast and Furious barely gets coverage? These assault rifles were bought illegally and knowingly were allowed to walk across the border and murder thousands of people. When are people going to turn in their cars? They kill people. What about baseball bats, golf clubs, kitchen utensils, pencils, or pretty much any other object? It's sad to say but it's society thats the problem. Kids staring at a phone all day.Parents taking children to violent movies or letting them view them at home. Until the mentality changes I will protect my home and family by any means.
  13. cfskinner Staff
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    cfskinner - December 20, 2012 7:07 am
    It seems to me that "the bad guys" will always have access to guns, bombs, the ingredients for bombs, etc. Gun control means nothing because "they" will always find a way; it only means that one day my sons won't be able to go pheasant hunting.
    If we want to purge society of violence, then perhaps we should take a hard look at the film and video game industries. Garbage in, garbage out.
  14. funnyme
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    funnyme - December 20, 2012 11:10 am
    You're right on!
  15. chunk215
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    chunk215 - December 20, 2012 12:23 pm
    Unless I heard wrong, the killer in Connecticut never used an assault rifle. The rifle was found in the car. He used two handguns. Everybody keeps saying ban assault rifles but that's not the problem nor is guns. The crazies will find a way no matter what. There's no way to get every gun ever produced out of the hands of someone like that either.
  16. guesswhoiam
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    guesswhoiam - December 22, 2012 4:14 am
    True story. Home invasion robbery on Henry road years ago left the homeowner for dead after bad guy shot him. Several years later same homeowner same house. Homeowner now has a gun. Calls 911. Tells them a guy is trying to get in I'm going to shoot if he enters. Bad guy enters. Homeowner shoots him. This is in napa and happened before these public shootings. Look it up. You can protect yourself with a gun.
  17. alicecooper
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    alicecooper - January 02, 2013 9:49 pm
    I really admire Mr. Dinkel how he gives up his guns. This is really a good indication that guns can lost a thousand lives anytime. The Sandy Hook rampage was a result of gun shooting, this only indicates that these weapons should be prohibited by the authority. Meanwhile, amidst the sad circumstances NY woman try to scam fund in the said incident.Read more here...
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