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Commission hears about SFCSD firearms

Sheriff Dan Bullock explained to the commission why the department is in possession of the firearms.

November 1, 2019

Disposing of surplus firearms at the sheriff's department was a topic of business during the St. Francois County Commission's regular session Tuesday.

Sheriff Dan Bullock explained to the commission why the department is in possession of the firearms.

"These are weapons that have been approved through the years, the last 20-30 years by the sheriff's department," he said. "Weapons that have been dropped off or donated to the sheriff's department. They are not the type of weapons that police normally use, a lot of these are hunting weapons, target-shooting weapons that are just laying over there, been there for years."

Bullock wants to sell the weapons to utilize the funds for more appropriate arms for his deputies. Currently the sheriff's deputies have to supply their own sidearms for duty.

"Our ultimate goal is to change the sheriff's department over where everyone's carrying the same caliber weapon, same type of weapon where we can interchange ammunition, all weapons work and function the same," he said. "When you come to work over there, you furnish your own weapon. It has to be a centerfire handgun, if it's a Colt or Smith and Wesson, or Ruger or whatever. Because you buy it yourself, we don't actually say you have to have a Colt 1911 on your side when you go to work here."

Associate Commissioner Gay Wilkinson clarified, asking, "The county doesn't provide them a weapon? But with this program you would have county-owned firearms?"

According to Bullock, it will be an expensive project to supply firearms to all 56 sworn law enforcement officers in the sheriff's employ. The funds from the sale would not be near enough to cover buying everyone handguns. However, he has been supplying patrol rifles through extra funding similar to this.

Wilkinson asked Bullock if he would sell the surplus through a licensed dealer.

"There's several ways we could do this," Bullock said. "We could go to the local gun dealers, which is something I like to do, and either sell them to resell, or trade them for store credit where we could purchase."

Presiding Commission Harold Gallaher cleared up a point of confusion on his part where he understood the weapons were obtained from confiscations.

"There will be a point before long, we are working on that right now, Cpl. Scott Miller is going through our evidence room," Bullock said. "We are going to have confiscated weapons, probably about 100 or so, we are going to be getting rid of before long, too."

Gallaher noted that there are 16 firearms on the list provided by the sheriff. Three are 12 gauge shotguns and the rest are rifles and pistols of mixed brands and calibers.

The commission approved the sheriff's recommendation to sell the firearms at his discretion. Bullock explained his reasoning at having a licensed dealer buy the weapons.

"We will probably put it out to all the gun dealers rather than trying to sell to individuals," he said. "I would like to have an auction and sell to the public, but with the firearms laws, we will probably go through dealers and see who can give us the best deal."

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