Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol sold by WA police used in subsequent suicide (courtesy usnews.com)

“Of the nearly 6,000 firearms used in crimes and then sold by Washington law enforcement agencies since 2010, more than a dozen later became evidence in new investigations . . . The weapons were used to threaten people, seized at gang hangouts, discovered in drug houses, possessed illegally by convicted felons, hidden in a stolen car, and taken from a man who was suffering a mental health crisis and was committed because of what his father said was erratic behavior.” State Patrol Pushes Back on Reselling Guns [via usnews.com]

51 COMMENTS

  1. Hm…. How did guns sold by law enforcement get back in the hands of criminals? Didn’t they do background checks? Can they be sued by victims because the guns they sold got into criminal hands?

    • I rather suspect they got into criminal hands the same way guns usually do: they stole them from the legal buyer/owner.
      It should be far more telling that so many thousands more are still out there peacefully doing nothing at all but that would be a boring headline.
      🤠

    • Reading the article, AP reports that these Police Seized guns are sold legally through FFL holders, initially. The article goes on to state:“The weapon Juhl used to kill himself was in a batch the State Patrol traded in 2012. It was purchased by a man in Yakima, who sold it to someone else, who then sold it on Craigslist. Juhl’s girlfriend told police that’s where he got it.” Juhl was a “prohibited person”, but the gun passed through several hands, the last of which, apparently, did not feel hindered by inconvenient “legalities”.

      Even if “Universal Background Checks” were mandatory in all 50 States for all gun sales transactions, people who willfully ignore the Law will sell guns to prohibited persons. Once again, Background Checks demonstrated to be ineffective in keeping guns out of a prohibited person’s hands. Any one of us who acquires/owns our firearms legally, can choose to ignore our State Laws and sell firearms to any person who will pay our price. The whole concept is a sham put in place by Politicians who got away with looking like they “did something”.

      • people who willfully ignore the Law Who willfully ignore WHAT law?

        An individual CAN’T perform a background check even if they wanted or were REQUIRED to do such. And GOOD. Freedom.

        • As far as I know, it’s illegal to sell a prohibited person a gun. However, there’s often no good way to know if a prohibited person is a prohibited person aside from asking them if they are, and them telling you they are.

          So, yeah, you can break the law, and have no way to prove you aren’t.

        • While Federal Law does not require or enable individuals to perform BC’s, some States have enacted Laws, requiring any and all sales of firearms to be conducted through a licensed FFL where a BC must be performed. Washington State has such a law, as well as California and Oregon. Sales of firearms to “prohibited persons” is generally prohibited by GCA 1968, extended by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (1992), [but those Federal laws and their components are unconstitutional under the terms of 2A].
          Even if your State does not have such a law, you are obligated by GCA 1968 and BHVPA 1992 to ask any buyer if they are a “prohibited person” when conducting a private sale. Failure to do so, or ignoring an affirmative response from the prospective buyer and proceeding with the sale, violates these illegal laws and puts you at risk of criminal prosecution. Your FREEDOM is infringed.

          The only way to resolve these issues is to embrace FREEDOM completely and abolish all “gun control” laws and any other infringements on the right to keep and bear Arms.

        • It is illegal to sell a gun to a person the seller has reason to believe is a prohibited person. “It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person” is a prohibited person. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d).

          What’s reasonable cause? I’m not sure, and I’m not doing a couple of hours of research to find out. It would be a stretch to say this statute creates any affirmative duty to question a buyer you have no reason to believe is a prohibited person.

        • Some states require a permit, issued only after a background check, to take possession of a firearm. A wise seller will cover himself by keeping a copy of the buyer’s permit. Gun clubs screen out undesirables by requiring members to maintain either that permit or a concealed carry permit.

        • In California, all gun sales must be handled by an FFL with a background check, even face-to-face private sales. With a ten day wait. And if the background check does not go through, the FFL must perform one on the seller before returning the firearm to him/her (and yes, with a ten day wait because that’s how long the State DOJ says it needs to perform the background check).

      • Private sales have required a background check in Washington since 2014. But because of Haynes v. US, laws like this don’t apply to prohibited people.

        • Laws “like this” still apply to prohibited people. Laws like this are laws saying that it is illegal to transfer a firearm to a prohibited person. A prohibited person cannot transfer a firearm to another prohibited person under laws like this.

          It’s registration laws that don’t apply. Maybe the 4473 too. If attempting to purchase a firearm while being prohibited is a crime, then Haynes might apply to the 4473 process. Attempting to purchase a firearm is not explicitly a crime for a prohibited person. I don’t know if conspiracy applies to section 922. I imagine it does, but you would have to prove that the person knew they were a prohibited person, which might be hard to do if they subjected themselves to a background check.

        • It would be interesting to know how many of these dangerous police-sold guns were sold prior to the law taking effect. Not that 23 or less is a statistically significant sample size to draw any conclusions….

        • @ TX_Lawyer
          I-594 has a registration component for handguns (the most popular guns for criminals). Haynes said that forcing a prohibited person to register a firearm was a violation of the fifth amendment, so registration schemes don’t apply to them.

        • I don’t recall ever hearing the part about Washington’s law requiring registration.

          Legally speaking, registration laws only apply to people who are not prohibited, possession laws apply to everyone, and transfer laws, unless they require an incriminating admission by a prohibited person, apply to everyone. That “unless they …” makes me think that 4473’s may be an illegal requirement for prohibited persons. If that’s the case, it would cause the whole system to be illegal.

        • From the I-594 text Section 3.3.b:
          (b) Except as provided in (a) of this subsection, the licensed dealer shall comply with all requirements of federal and state law that would apply if the licensed dealer were selling or transferring the firearm from its inventory to the purchaser or transferee, including but not limited to conducting a background check on the prospective purchaser or transferee in accordance with federal and state law requirements and fulfilling all federal and state recordkeeping requirements.

          All pistol sales in Washington require filing a registration form with the state.

    • Once in a while they catch crooked departments or individuals selling them out the back door. Not even kidding.

  2. So what’s the rest of the story?
    They know who won the bids. Follow the trail. See if a crime was committed. Duh.
    Hey detective, go forth and detect.

  3. So these are the evil guns, hiding out in amongst the innocent firearms, just waiting to jump out of a holster, and force some blameless social club member in the hood to commit some horrific act!

  4. OK………. Even if it was two dozen (24) guns that’s still just 0.004%
    That’s not even 1/2 of 1% Right? my math is rusty, please correct me if I’m wrong.
    25% would be 1,500 guns, Then I would start to be concerned.
    > less than 1% is NOTHING to write home about

    • 0.004 or 0.4%, but not 0.004%. Got to move that decimal point over if you want to use the % sign on the number. Still a trivially small number to start ringing the warning bells about the flood of police-sold guns threatening the citizenry.

  5. this is a puff piece eluding to that even if POLICE sell guns, its no guarantee that the person is responsible, therefore ban them all. that is how the anti’s will use a piece like this.

  6. I know this article is not true, because you have to process all gun sales through an FFL with a background check. It’s the law in Washington. (sarcasm meter is pegged)

  7. Ao, how many of these guns were involved in shootings? People excluded by new laws from owning guns may need protection of said gun more than most people. Don’t they have a right to protect themselves from even worse scum buckets?

    • Much like ATF crime trace data, merely indicates that the gun was somehow related to an investigation, not that the traced gun was necessarily used in the commission of a crime. Apparently, not even any alleged crime in the case of the man with the mental health crisis.

      • If you read the whole article, they have one suicide and a couple of prohibited persons in possession, for example gang members with guns. It was really vague as to whether any one was used for a crime, or simply confiscated with others because of the commission of a crime.

        • You can (probably) safely assume the vagueness means the guns were not used to commit a crime.

    • Hm. And that although there are more guns than felons! Must be an impressive percentage difference in favor of guns.

    • I’d bet police auction firearms are employed in the commission of fewer crimes than police department officers are. Maybe we should focus on police academies, not auctions, as the felony fountainhead?

  8. The purpose of this article, published by anti-gun AP, is to create a basis to support the discontinuation of sales of confiscated guns by police agencies. More guns=more gun crime, of course, and thus the police are contributing to the problem by selling guns. Allegedly. Or not.

  9. So? Ever been to a local police auction? It’s not unlike your basic flea market or swap meet in variety of goods.

    I’m sure some seized and re-sold cars, cell phones, game consoles, boots, and whatever else ended up owned by some criminal. And?

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