Special Report: Selling seized guns - WRBL

Special Report: Selling seized guns

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Instead of destroying them, The Columbus Police Department is selling hundreds of seized guns. Some of the guns were used in crimes, others were found on the road- all of them now headed back to the streets.

“The policeman in me says I’d rather not see that gun back on the street, we’ve already gotten a hold of it once, but you’ve got 550 guns- will every one of them be used in a crime? No. Some of them will be sold to someone that will enjoy the use of that gun for the rest of their life and it’ll never do anything illegal again,” says Major Stan Swiney.

Major Swiney is in charge of the Bureau of Support Services. He says for the very first time the department is selling more than 500 guns to firearms dealers. By an act of the Georgia legislature, the police department can no longer destroy guns, so they’re putting them out on auction.

“Would I have preferred them go to somewhere west of here? Yea, I would have preferred that, but the Georgia legislature wants them sold and if a local business wants to bid on them that’s certainly their right,” says Swiney.

Robbie Whitten who owns Money Mizer on Manchester Expressway says he's already purchased about 30 used firearms from police.

“The particular guns we bought from the Columbus Police Department were long guns, so they are primarily going to be used for hunting and sport shooting and stuff like that,” says Whitten.

"When we do resell them, we're selling them to law abiding citizens that have to go through a background check. So when they do get back on the street, they're going in the right hands instead of the wrong hands,” adds Whitten.

Whitten has also been trading with the Harris County Sheriff’s office for the past several years.

“What we normally try and do is get a cash equivalency for a trade in so we can replenish our ammo or buy more weapons that our issued out to deputies. We get maybe a bulletproof vest, or add clothing for our clothing allowance, webbing to carry weapons, or any other equipment that would save our tax base. If we do get a cash value or strictly cash than that money would go into the general fund,” says Sheriff Mike Jolley.

Both the Columbus Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff's Office will destroy guns that are illegal to have- like a sawed off shotgun or guns with altered serial numbers. They will always give guns that were stolen back to an innocent owner.

Sarah Panko

Sarah is the anchor/ producer for News Three First Edition at 5/4 central time. She also brings you the latest Consumer Reports on the Nightwatch at 11/10 central. More>>

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