In 2012, the Georgia Legislature passed a statute to forbidding the police to destroy valuable firearms. The statute requires that firearms in possession of police — whether confiscated, seized or otherwise acquired — be sold to legal dealers. Once administrative costs are covered, the money from the sale goes to the general fund of the administering political subdivision.
When the law went into effect, a number of Georgia political subdivisions violated the law with impunity. The chief amongst them: the City of Atlanta. Guns sold at auction by police usually bring between $100 and $200 each. Atlanta was sitting on at least 6,000 guns more than two years ago.
Atlanta has likely added two thousand more guns since then. Assuming $150 per gun, and eight thousand guns, that is $1.2 million dollars the city refuses to put in its general fund. The figure doesn’t include the cost of storing and securing the valuable property, or the cost of organizing a sale.
Three Democrat senators, Lester G Jackson from Savanna (top of post), Ed Harbison from Columbus (posing in front of the flag above), and Gail Davenport from Jonesboro (posiing in front of the flag below), have introduced legislation to allow police to destroy legal, valuable, guns. The legislation would repeal of the 2012 law.
It seems unlikely to pass. The legislature, losing patience with the scofflaw antics of Atlanta and other jurisdictions in Georgia, is more likely to amend the proposed legislation to add penalties for the officials who refuse to follow Georgia law.
That happened in Arizona.
Tucson City officials refused to follow a law requiring the sale of firearms. The legislature passed new legislation, that withheld state funds from the City until the City complied with the law. The City fought the law to the State Supreme Court, where they lost.
Cities are not above the law. They are not constitutionally separate entities who can choose what state laws to follow, and what state laws to violate.
Equally, when police violate the law, it sets a bad example and a bad precedent. What other laws can law enforcement violate or ignore when they have a difference of opinion with legislators?
Will Georgia legislators step up to the plate and stop the scofflaw cities in Georgia from wasting taxpayer resources? We will see in 2018.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch