In 2010, Tennessee passed a law forbidding police departments to destroy valuable guns. They had to keep them or sell them. Some departments chose to keep them rather than return them to standard channels of commerce. The legislature responded by making the sale of weapons acquired by police departments through confiscation or gun turn in programs to be sold every six months. That bill, passed in May of 2015, has become law in Tennessee. It faced little opposition in the legislature, passing on voice votes. Here is a partial summation. From tn.gov:
Prior to the disposal of any firearm that has been forfeited or abandoned to the state or a political subdivision of the state, the agency with custody or possession of the firearm must use best efforts to determine if the firearm has been lost by or stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained from an innocent owner, and if so, must return the firearm to the owner, if ascertainable, unless that person is ineligible to possess, receive, or purchase a firearm under state or federal law.
With certain exceptions, the agency must dispose of any such firearms it receives by sale at public auction to persons licensed as firearms collectors, dealers, importers, or manufacturers who are authorized to receive such firearms under the terms of such license. The auctions may occur online on a rolling basis or at live events, but in no event may an auction occur less frequently than once every six months during any time the agency has an inventory of saleable firearms.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland confirmed today that from now on, when the city has gun buyback programs, those weapons must be sold if they are in working order.Mayor Strickland goes on to decry that he can no longer require that valuable firearms that are turned in at City organized events, must be destroyed. Such destruction had always been irrational, done for propaganda purposes. The message of these turn-in events had always been "Guns Bad - Turn them in to Police". Now the message is a little different: If you want to get rid a a gun, "turn it in to the police, and they will sell it".
The legislation was first introduced last year and is now state law.
Multiple academics have repeatedly said that these programs have no effect on crime, and may actually be counter productive. One of the most famous of these is from the "Freakonomics" web site:
When it comes to gun buybacks, both the theory and the data could not be clearer in showing that they don’t work. The only guns that get turned in are ones that people put little value on anyway. There is no impact on crime. On the positive side, the “cash for clunkers” program is more attractive than the gun buyback program because, as long as they are being driven, old cars pollute, whereas old guns just sit there.But "progressive" politicians loved the show; there was considerable room for throwing money around; and the propaganda value was always high on their list. The show was meant to "send a message".
Tennessee was one of the early states to adopt a law forbidding such waste. They had to go back and remove discretion form law enforcement agencies who were stonewalling them.
Several other states have enacted similar laws, including Arizona, Texas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, and North Carolina.
A local politician in Ohio has made the logical leap; take turned in guns and sell them to dealers. Then use the money as a rotating fund to pay other people who want to turn in firearms, but do not want to take the trouble to sell them at a gun shop or gun show.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch