NEOSHO, Mo. — Black Rain Ordnance Inc., a local firearm manufacturing company, has offered to supply the Neosho Police Department with 27 FalloutCQB 9mm standard issue rifles at a discounted price.
For what would normally be around a $27,000 value, Black Rain has offered that the department pay $5,000 and trade in nine of its current, city-owned rifles.
"As a retired law enforcement lieutenant, this is an incredible deal," said Leland Butcher, city manager. "This is an incredible offer, and I want to thank Black Rain."
The offer was presented to the Neosho City Council during its meeting earlier this week, and council members voted unanimously to pass the first reading of a move that would designate the nine department-owned rifles as surplus. That would allow the weapons to be traded.
Before the council can officially accept Black Rain's firearm offer, members must approve a written proposal explaining the offer's details, Butcher said.
Additionally, the council is required by law to seek a minimum of three bids in order to approve the expenditure, Butcher said. In the coming week the city will seek bids on the price of 27 similar rifles from three other gun manufacturers, though none will likely be able to compete with Black Rain's offer, he said.
In October 2018, the Neosho Police Department was awarded 11 surplus M-16 rifles from the state of Missouri, said David Kennedy, police chief. At the time, he had anticipated that it would cost $5,000 to upgrade those weapons to make them serviceable for the department, which was reflected in the fiscal year 2019 city budget.
While going out for bids to determine the true cost of to make those rifles serviceable, Kennedy said, "Black Rain stepped in and made this tremendous offer to the city and to the Police Department. The city on its own could probably not do this because of the cost of the rifles."
In exchange for the 27 new rifles, Justin Harvel, co-founder of Black Rain, requested that the department pay the $5,000 that was budgeted to upgrade the rifles awarded by the state, and trade in any eligible city-owned rifles, Kennedy said. The M-16 rifles will be transferred back to the state for another department to use.
"We sell weapons nationwide, and we arm some of the finest law enforcement agencies out there," Harvel told the council Tuesday night. "It's only fitting that our local department carries our guns."
Harvel said his company supplying the local police department with guns is also fitting to him because he worked 10 years full time at the Neosho Fire Department, his father served as reserve deputy of the Neosho Police Department and his mother worked in the medical field.
"It only makes sense," he said. "We can repair, service and warranty right here locally."
At the next council meeting, the bill to designate the nine rifles as surplus will go before the council again for a second and third reading, Kennedy said. If approved, the rifles will then be eligible for transfer.
The City Council will meet next at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, at the City Hall, 203 E. Main St.
Black Rain Ordnance Inc., founded in 2009, produces about 10,000 rifles a year in its 22,000-square-foot headquarters, located between Joplin and Neosho at 1633 Iris Road. The factory sells products through national retailers such as Bass Pro Shop, Cabela's, Gander Mountain and Scheels, as well as thousands of small, independent gun shops across the United States, according to the company.