Sunday, March 8, 2015

To Sell or Destroy? Law Enforcement Agencies Weigh Fate of Seized Guns

That department followed all state and federal laws when it sold the gun and 45 other confiscated hunting guns to the public over the last two years. Kmetz, who was prohibited from owning a gun because of his mental health history, ordered it from an online auction site and had a friend pick it up in an illegal “straw” purchase at a gun shop in Princeton, Minn.

On Jan. 26, Kmetz, 68, took the gun to New Hope City Hall, where he shot the two officers. Other officers returned fire, killing him.

“You can’t guarantee where guns go,” Fournier said.

Duluth police pocketed $5,538 for selling the 46 shotguns. Feb. 13, Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said his department now is weighing a change in the way it discards confiscated weapons no longer needed for investigations or training.

“The New Hope incident is yet another example of why we need to develop sound strategies to keep weapons from individuals who are ineligible to lawfully possess them,” Ramsay said.

If Duluth decides to start destroying them, it will join many Twin Cities metro-area and outstate departments whose chiefs say that policy sends the right message about keeping guns off the streets.


  1. So what it boils down to is that the decision to sell or destroy is made at the local level. And there is even difference of opinion in law enforcement. I found the last paragraph I cited interesting in light of our discussion about the flintlock pistol confiscated in New Jersey.

    “Gordon Ramsay is a good chief, and he runs a good department,” he said. “I have no problem with police departments selling guns to the public.”

    "Many city and county agencies sell used service weapons or hunting guns in an effort to be good stewards of the public’s money, he said. Duluth police recently exchanged 160 service weapons with a company and received credit for newer weapons, saving taxpayers nearly $100,000, he said."

    "The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association doesn’t have a model policy on selling unclaimed and seized weapons, said Andy Skoogman, the group’s executive director. “In some cases, agencies can have a number of weapons worth several thousands of dollars,” he said. “Do you destroy them? Or do you sell them and reinvest the proceeds from the sale back into local public safety efforts?"

    "Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, who keeps a confiscated antique gun worth $85,000 in a display case in his office, said he doesn’t think confiscated guns should be sold to the public, because the potential costs can far outweigh the money made."

  2. Mikeb, I believe you've said in the past that you don't really have a problem with police departments selling seized guns (and department-issued guns that have been replaced) back to the public. Has that position changed?

    1. No.

      Conciseness--that's a virtue I simply don't possess. Well done, Mikeb.

  3. You have to have a "blame the gun" attitude in order for destroying them to make sense.

    Did the Mount Prospect Police Department freak out and stop the practice of auctioning off police cars because of the damage Jake and Elwood did with the Bluesmobile?

  4. It's not about the money, it's about the commitment to keep guns off the street. A rather lame excuse when one of their guns ended up in such a crime to say they wanted to make money for the City, County, or State. Let private enterprise make it about money, that's not the policy, or intent of government.