“You don’t get a lot of high-end guns in the seizure world.” – Jason Knowles in Under New Law, the Police Can Act as Gun Dealers [at nytimes.com]

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19 Responses to Quote of the Day: Conflict of Interests Edition

  1. …….but we get houses, and cars, and jewelry, and tvs, and then we sell them at auction so we can get our ‘high end guns’.

    -fixed-

  2. The State of Washington requires the Washington State Patrol by law to sell seized or unclaimed firearms at auction with an FFL. (RCW 9.41.098) I believe local LE agencies are not so required, but most generally do dispose of firearms at auction.

    Also by law Curio and Relic firearms must be sold at auction.

    I think it makes sense. selling old guns via FFL is not “putting guns on the street”

    guns are generally a valuable resellable asset, police shouldn’t be wasting taxpayer money for some stupid ideological bent.

    • My department decided against selling any firearms, even those turned in as found property or by hoplophobes who inherited them. Everything gets destroyed to keep the city from being in the news as the source of a crime gun or as inadvertently enabling a tragic accident.

      I have on several occasions nearly begged people to go to a LGS and sell guns they were trying to turn in. So far I’ve been successful, but I can’t be there for all of them. Department policy also prevents me from buying such things myself from people who come to the station, even if I wait until I’m off duty to do so. Actually, I agree with that part.

    • Any asset forfeiture which can in any way whatsoever directly or indirectly be of monetary benefit to the confiscating department or local government will always, always lead to more confiscation of said property.

      It’s been going on since this insanity was legalized.

  3. As long as they’re selling them for market value into the commercial system AND after the former owners have been able to avail themselves of due process to ensure the seizure was lawful, I see no problem with this.

  4. Asset forfeiture laws are some of the most screwed up laws regulating law enforcement conduct. They basically give departments incentives to steal stuff from people.

    Assuming that the police department makes every effort to find the rightful owner (if stolen property), I’d hope for the following:

    (1) Have the guns examined, cleaned, and (if applicable) fixed by a gunsmith so they are in decent condition;
    (2) Periodically, have an auction that allows FFL’s to visit, examine, bid on and purchase the firearms (probably would be an auction with multiple departments contributing firearms in rural areas);
    (3) Direct any proceeds from these auctions to first cover the cost of the auction (any hall rental fees and such), and any remaining proceeds would be directed to local or regional social charities (e.g. domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, food banks, etc.).

    The proceeds from auctions (for guns or anything else) should not end up in any police department’s budget or government budget. While I understand that rural departments have limited sources of income, they should never have a built-in incentive to take assets from people.

    We shouldn’t be destroying firearms – we should be getting them into the hands of law-abiding citizens who can use them to defend themselves.

    • The police are not just relieving citizens of their guns.

      these firearms are nearly always seized when serving search warrants, arresting felons, etc etc etc

      they’re not stopping some dude with a CCW license and taking their piece to auction….

    • Which would be who? If it was confiscated/surrendered/forfeited based on a criminal proceeding, who would you have it returned to?

        • I’m not lawyer-y enough to know the answer to that, and I have wondered about it before. If you suddenly became prohibited (and knew it), you could dispose of your firearms as you saw fit, selling or gifting them out of your possession. But if failed to do that, either willingly, or because you were unaware you’d become prohibited (terrorist watch list what?), and the authorities came to collect them, why do you then lose the right to dispose of them yourself? I really don’t understand how the law works in the forfeiture/seizure area, but maybe someone who does will chime in.

    • You also get guns turned in by hoplophobes who inherit them or guns that are found or who’s owner cannot be found or located.

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