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Confiscated-gun law is truly unfortunate

The Jackson Sun,

Jackson, TN

We fail to see the advantage of a new state law forcing police agencies to sell confiscated weapons, putting them back on the street. Many law enforcement officials don't like the idea. And a recent non-scientific poll conducted by The Jackson Sun showed more than 58 percent of responders want confiscated weapons destroyed, not sold. The new law ties the hands of law enforcement officials and should be repealed.

The previous law allowed individual law enforcement agencies to choose how to deal with confiscated weapons. At various times, agencies have taken different approaches to suit their individual needs. It makes no sense to limit their choices.

The new law requires working firearms to be sold. The law also requires the proceeds to be used for law enforcement operations. Under the old law, funds from sold weapons often made their way into community general funds. The new law is seen as an opportunity to save money. Gun owner rights groups also point out that as long as the weapons are legal, selling them through proper channels makes sense, helps reduce the cost of government and prevents government interference with gun-owner rights.

The Jackson Police Department has a policy to destroy confiscated weapons. The Madison County Sheriff's Department has both destroyed and sold weapons in the past. This is a decision best made by law enforcement officials.

The legislation was sponsored by state Sen. Doug Jackson, D-Dickson, last year and passed the House and Senate by overwhelming majorities. Lawmakers see the measure as saving taxpayers money.

The new law came under scrutiny recently when two high-profile shootings at the Pentagon and a Las Vegas courthouse were committed with guns confiscated by Memphis area law enforcement and resold. We don't know how much revenue the gun sales generated for Memphis taxpayers, but they now have cost taxpayers in Las Vegas and Washington, D.C., many more times that, and they have led to human death and injury.

In Jackson, the community has been besieged by shootings and has residents worried about going out in public. Forcing police to put even one more gun on the streets is inexcusable and is no way to help fight crime. We are not willing to accept a few dollars of revenue from gun sales at the expense of public safety.

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International Association for Property and Evidence
"Law Enforcement Serving the Needs of Law Enforcement"
Investigation into missing money continues
Confiscated guns get melted down

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