It’s no mystery that the United States is undergoing an unprecedented wave of gun violence. Drive-bys, armed robberies, road rage incidents — the list is endless. Innocent children being shot, or in some cases pulling the trigger themselves, made headlines in just the last few days. Law enforcement has, no pun intended, also come under fire, with greater numbers of police and sheriff’s deputies being killed in the line of duty.
If you asked 100 people on the street, probably 95 of them believe guns confiscated by the police are routinely destroyed. Not so. Law enforcement agencies in a growing number of states are now, by state law, forced to sell firearms seized in the commission of a crime.
Eleven states currently require or recommend the sale of seized and recovered guns, with some states outlawing the destruction of these firearms altogether. Some states have suspended ‘buy back’ programs because they are prevented from destroying the very weapons they buy back from the criminals. Not surprisingly, special interests, including the National Rifle Association (NRA) are 100% behind this.
“Police destruction of firearms is unnecessary and wasteful,” said NRA spokeswoman Amy Hunter. “There is no reason any police department can’t resell those firearms to law abiding citizens and use the money for any number of things — infrastructure, law enforcement training, equipment, etc.”
If only that was how it worked.
The NRA is facing some tough opposition to their argument: the very police officers in possession of the seized guns.
“My job is to keep my officers safe,” said Fred Fletcher, the police chief of Chattanooga, where there have been more than 100 shootings this year. “To send them out to face the same guns they risked their lives to get off the street is a big concern.”
Police being shot by previously seized guns? Here’s a few examples:
- A court security officer in Las Vegas was killed and a Deputy U.S. Marshal was injured with a gun sold by a Memphis, TN-area sheriff’s department.
- Pentagon police officers were ambushed by a man with a handgun confiscated and sold by the Memphis Police Department.
- A man in Minnesota opened fire at a local city council meeting with a shotgun sold by a nearby department.
Police are being killed by the very guns they are forced to sell. What is it going to take to inject a little common sense into this equation?
Featured image courtesy of telegraph.co.uk.