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Last week the Williston Police Department of Williston, North Dakota, auctioned off 149 firearms that had been collected over the last couple of decades. From

Hundreds of people attended the Williston Police Department’s first gun auction.

In total, 149 guns forfeited to the department through criminal investigations were up for bid.

“I used to have a federal firearms license and I used to have a side gun business. If I do stay here, I’m going to do it again and that’s why I came here. To get an education,” says Gary Silva, an auction attendee.

Some of the oldest guns for sale had been in the department’s custody since the 1990s.

“We are now kind of running out of space for those guns and it’s time to get rid of those firearms,” says WPD Sergeant Detective Jacob Gregory.

North Dakota is one of at least 11 states that have enacted laws either allowing or requiring police departments to sell forfeited guns at auction.

You can view the list of guns auctioned at badlandsauction.files. A few that that catch the eye include:

Keltec KSG 12 gauge
Israel Weapon Rifle
Kimber Custom Covert II  45
Colt Revolver King Cobra
Bushmaster 223 XM15
Brown(ing)? .22 rifles
Savage Lever Action wood grain  (maybe a model 99?)
LW Seecamp

The person compiling the list didn’t seem overly concerned with clear and accurate firearm descriptions. My experience with North Dakota auctions is they tend to have a higher class of firearms than average.

The inexpert naming didn’t reduce the prices, at least not noticeably. The Williston PPD sold the firearms in a smart and efficient way. They had a live auction with an experienced auctioneer. Firearms sold at live auctions tend to bring top dollar.

It is easy to see why the North Dakota legislature requires departments across the state to sell firearms that they acquire for the benefit of the public. It would have required scarce resources to destroy these valuable assets. Instead of costing the city dollars, the auction put fifty-five grand in the public treasury.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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  1. Much better than the federal approach of making sure as few guns as possible get to the public.

  2. Oh, North Dakota. I thought for a minute that this town of Williston had a Negligent Discharge Police force and thought, wow, better follow the 4 rules of fi rearms safety there!

    • Williston does have a crime ‘scene’, it’s the heart of the Bakken oil formation.

      Fracking technology has lead to a huge boom in oil rigs and support business. Those jobs pay very well, and that attracts the hookers and drugs. And that attracts the criminal element.

      The locals have a love-hate relationship with it, while they love money they can make housing and feeding the oilmen, it’s now unaffordable for the locals that live there.

      A farmer can charge $500 a month to allow a motorhome to park. And they can park a *lot* of ’em on an acre of land…

      • Bah, it isn’t that bad considering the growth rate of the area. Most folks that come out here to work are decent people just looking to support their families but those guys don’t ever make the news. Anywhere there’s the prospect of a quick buck, the dreggs of society will make an appearance.

  3. What? No Lorcins, Cobras, Ravens, various flavors of Hi-Points? I see some little girl out there might have wanted back the single shot Crickett .22 she learned with as a tyke…

    • Yep. Plenty of Hi-points and for those of you who really admire junk, at least one Jennings. And that’s not to mention the ones which were apparently so bad the manufacturers were embarrassed to put their names on them!

      • At an average of $369 per gun, there must have been more than a few nice ones buried in the dreck to boost the per-gun cost that high.

  4. I live and work in Williston and was at this auction last week. I did not purchase anything as the only deals to be had were around the 800-1000 dollar range.

    When Hi-Points are going for almost 300 dollars, Cobras are in the mid 200s, and a Tokarov goes for 275…there are no deals to be had ?

    And yes, a number of guns were badly mislabeled. There was a Hungarian PA63 that was auctioned off as a “9 mm”, something that will provide the buyer with an interesting surprise if he doesn’t know soviet bloc weapons and tries to put 9mm Luger through it. Also the gun went for about 25% more than it’s worth.

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