If you owned an illegal firearm or one used to commit a crime and the police confiscated your gun, you might soon be able to buy it back. At least if you live in Texas.
A new Texas law, HB 1421, lets police in Texas sell the guns they seize, except for weapons used in cases that resulted in a criminal conviction, and that exception is only because those guns might be needed as evidence if the cases are appealed.
Otherwise, confiscated, lost or unclaimed weapons go back on the open market if police officers decide their departments need al little extra cash. The buyers would have to be licensed firearms dealers.
The law “makes sense if the weapons are in good shape,” said Texas Republican lawmaker Charles Perry, who also noted the “fiscal impact impact in a positive way” that gun sales by police are likely to have.
On the other hand, not all police see the new law as a common sense measure.
“At first blush it is probably not something we will be willing to do,” said Waco Police Public Information Officer W. Patrick Swanton to the Texas Tribune. “We don’t want to put additional weapons back out there on the street that have already been confiscated or used in a crime.”
Departments in San Antonio, Houston and Austin, Texas, have already said that they will not be getting into the gun sales business either. They will continue their policy of destroying seized firearms. They destroyed hundreds last year alone.
However, some smaller, rural departments taht are often in need of revenues will be taking part in the program. Some have already sold seized weapons even though the new law does not take effect until Sept. 1.
Gun dealers are also not all on board with the program.
“The majority of firearms seized by law enforcement typically are relatively cheap and of low quality,” said Jason Knowles, manager of a Lubbock gun shop. “You don’t get a lot of high end guns in the seizure world.”
SOURCES: Texas Tribune, New York Times