We knew they were pricey, but not this pricey – late yesterday, the Baltimore Police disclosed to The Brew some basic information about the sniper rifle contract they had presented to the city.
The order was for 12 AT308 sniper rifles for $114,895.80 or $9,574.65 per gun.
That’s more than double the “$4,000 and up” estimate by this website, based on gun sales by online dealers, when we broke the story on Monday that the contract was up for Board of Estimates’ approval.
The contract was withdrawn at the start of yesterday’s meeting, following an avalanche of opposition that sprang up online and in messages to City Hall.
Mayor Bernard C. Young, whose office introduced and then withdrew the item, made no comment. Since then, his office has not responded to questions, including whether the mayor planned to reintroduce the contract during the 2½ months he has left in office.
UPDATE: Following publication of this story, the mayor’s spokesman, James Bentley II, suggested that Young may decide to resubmit the sniper contract, emailing, “In light of the current fiscal and political climate, the mayor would like an opportunity to review it.”
Police spokeswoman Lindsey Eldridge yesterday said the guns were ordered for the SWAT team to replace “the current outdated rifles that have reached their max round count.”
These rifles are deployed, infrequently, by SWAT members “to handle active shooter incidents and similar high-risk situations,” Lindsey said.
For the most part, though, the guns are used for practice. “Members within our SWAT team are required to attend training at least four times a month for practice shooting and other related training topics,” she said.
Under the now-withdrawn contract, the old rifles would have been returned to Mile High Shooting Accessories, the Denver-based gun store that was to be the “sole-source” supplier of the new AT308s.