Published On: Thu, Jan 11th, 2018

Guns Recycle From The Street To Law Enforcement Back To The Street: And People Die

A patchwork of laws contribute to the bad guys obtaining guns — from law enforcement.

Kyle Tanner tried one last time to make up with his fiancée. It didn’t happen and wasn’t going to. He asked for his ring back, put a gun to his temple and pulled the trigger. As his fiancée and her mother hurried from the apartment, the bullet went through a wall and barely missed a neighbors head.

The Smith and Wesson Tanner used was familiar to law enforcement. The authorities had seized it before when investigating a crime. Then, they arranged its sale back to the public.

kid pointing handgun photo/ Michael Jarmoluk via pixabay.com

Reselling Guns Raises Cash Or Merely Returns Dangerous Weapons?

Of the almost 6,000 guns employed in crimes and later sold by the state since 2010, twelve ultimately became proof in new inquests. The information was drawn following a year’s study by The Associated Press which reviewed hundreds of public records as they matched up serial numbers.

The guns were used to intimidate people, taken at gang houses and found in drug properties. They were found in the illegal possession by felons, stored in stolen cars and even confiscated from a man experiencing a mental health crisis.

Some proponents say the gun selling — a long time practice permitted in most states — raises cash to buy needed crime fighting equipment. Program proponents point out if the scheme were abandoned individuals would just go elsewhere to buy guns. Others point out law enforcement shouldn’t do anything to return weapons to the streets.

“New York’s police don’t need to be the agency that sells a gun to a person who uses it in a different crime,” says Arkady Bukh, a noted New York criminal defense attorney. “There is an almost unlimited supply of weapons now. We don’t need to add to the problem.”

“I know many police chiefs who choose not to sell but rather to destroy the weapons,” Tana Senn said when sponsoring a bill to increase weapon destruction. “It’s so I can sleep at night.”

National Rifle Association Disagrees

Tom Kwieciak, spokesman for the NRA, has other ideas. “The cops could sleep better if they apprehended the bad guys behind the gun and stopped worrying about destroying legal firearms,” he said.

Unless seized weapons are needed as evidence, federal agencies are required to destroy confiscated guns. A growing number of states are moving in the other direction. A North Dakota bill passed in 2015 requires proceeds from sales be returned to the country’s general fund. North Carolina, in 2013, implemented a “save the gun” law which gives agencies the money from seized weapons’ sales for ‘law enforcement purposes.”

International Association of Chiefs of Police Disagree With NRA

The IACPD says seized weapons should be destroyed since putting them back on the street “increases the availability of guns which may be used to kill police officers.” That very tragedy has happened before.


In 2010 a mentally ill man attacked and injured two Pentagon law enforcement officers with a handgun sold by Memphis police. The same year in Las Vegas, a court security resource officer was killed by a man with a shotgun — sold by a sheriff’s office in Memphis.


Legislation in Oregon allows cops to sell, keep or destroy confiscated weapons, but prosecutors make sure they don’t return to the street.

“My office takes the position that weapons linked to a crime should be destroyed,” said Multnomah County District Attorney Jeffrey Lowe.

Tanner almost claimed two lives when he shot himself.

In the apartment next door, Adriana Dehonor, a mom to two boys, was leaning over when she heard something buzzed past her head and felt plaster hit her cheek. She looked up, spotted a hole in the tile and climbed on the edge of the tub and looked.

Tanner was lying in a pool of blood.

Author: Jerry Nelson

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