By Linda Kor
A new state law went into effect in August that requires state and local law enforcement agencies to re-sell weapons confiscated from individuals who have been convicted of a crime or deemed incompetent. This new law adds stronger language to a previous law that attempted to mandate the same, but allowed cities and towns the option to create their own ordinances allowing for the destruction of seized weapons. The law still requires that weapons prohibited under federal, state and local law be destroyed.
The law presents no change for the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office, which has been re-selling its confis-cated weapons to licensed gun dealers for many years.
“We’ve been doing this since long before I became sheriff. The weapons we seize are only provided to licensed dealers, who in turn re-sell the weapons to citizens who have undergone a background check,” explained Sheriff KC Clark.
Some lawmakers have expressed concern over the law, especially regarding weapons that were submitted to law enforcement agencies from citizens through a buy-back program. The NCSO has never operated a buy-back program such as that offered in other areas like Tucson, which held one last week. The program offered in Tucson provides a $50 grocery gift card for each weapon submitted.
Clark doesn’t believe that, given the conservative nature of the county, citizens from this area would turn in their weapons under such a program.
The law has also brought into question whether re-selling confiscated weapons is in the best public interest. Clark reiterated that the weapons are never re-sold at gun shows or to individuals, only to licensed dealers, for which the department receives credit.
“The credit we receive from providing licensed gun dealers with the confiscated weapons goes toward the purchase of new firearms, targets or ammunition for our deputies,” stated Clark.
Law enforcement agencies that have been destroying weapons must now seek out licensed dealers to handle their confiscated weapons.
By Linda Kor