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Bill would prevent police from destroying confiscated guns

Posted May 13, 2013
Updated May 14, 2013

— Police departments and other law enforcement agencies would not be able to destroy confiscated guns that are still in good working order under a bill passed by the House Judiciary Subcommittee B on Monday. 

The measure, House Bill 714, says departments may sell or auction weapons, use them for training or otherwise re-purpose them, but they may not destroy a gun if it is legal to own and in good working order.

"It seems fiscally responsible to maintain it," said Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer, R-Mecklenburg.

As it passed the committee, the bill also takes away the discretion of judges to order the destruction of a weapon that has been confiscated in a criminal case.

That caused dissension among lawmakers, including Rep. John Faircloth, R-Guilford, one of the primary sponsors of the bill.

"We ought to leave the judge the same authority he has now," Faircloth said. The bill, he said, should be adjusted to apply to guns that are voluntarily surrendered to police departments, such as during gun buyback programs, or donated. The proposal, he said, shouldn't restrict what police departments can do with guns confiscated in crimes. 

However, those changes weren't made in committee. Rather, lawmakers pledged to make them when the bill goes to the House floor. 

Arizona recently passed a similar measure, sending cities scrambling to destroy guns they recently acquired during gun buybacks. The National Rifle Association has threatened to sue to stop city police departments from destroying the firearms. 

Gun rights groups began pushing the law in 2011. Bloomberg News reported that the measure was adopted as model legislation by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a pro-business group generally seen as aligned with conservative state lawmakers. Parts of 2011 model legislation regarding guns are contained in ALEC's current model asset forfeiture law.

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  • eddieshaw053 May 14, 2013

    "Confiscated guns ought to be destroyed. That way they won't be confiscated after another crime."

    If only it were the gun that was evil. I doubt there is any correlation between a specific weapon and the number of times it is "legally" resold to someone who commits a crime. Any new buyer will have to go through a handgun permit process, which includes a background check. For long guns, a background check is also done.

  • Krimson May 14, 2013

    What other perfectly good state asset should we volunteer to destroy? Re-Sell the guns to law abiding citizens... Or give them to the Police...

  • wlbbjb May 14, 2013

    I would never surrender my guns but who in their right mind would not want guns used to commit crimes destroyed. I am beginning to believe the GOP has been bought by the NRA. 2014 is coming folks unless you guys pass a bill making it illegal to vote.

  • sisu May 13, 2013

    This is another embarrassing bill. Guess North Carolina is owned by the NRA too. Seems we aren't the USA as much as the NRA.

  • lsdhome May 13, 2013

    Confiscated guns ought to be destroyed. That way they won't be confiscated after another crime. The present law works just fine for North Carolina.

  • rushbot May 13, 2013

    another example of small g government by the gop..guess what you do when you require the police to keep the guns..that's right..you have a bigger government, cause you have to have a program to safeguard these weapons, and for how long, and who says finally how they depart the ole cop shop..via auction like the bicycles they have..typical gop product..not well thought out!!