Seattle will now destroy all unused police handguns
Jun 27, 2016, 10:37 AM | Updated: 5:51 pm
The City of Seattle will now destroy all handguns that cycle out of its police department.
The city council was expected to vote on a resolution Monday that would have altered its policy of selling old police service weapons. The resolution originally stated that the firearms that cycle out of use by officers would only be sold to other law enforcement agencies. But in a last-minutes change, Councilmember Tim Burgess amended the resolution.
“This makes the disposition of firearms that the police department has purchased consistent with how we deal with firearms that have been surrendered to the police department or seized by police as evidence of crimes,” Burgess said.
The city currently destroys all firearms that are surrendered to the police department, or are taken in as evidence and cannot be returned to a proper owner. Burgess added a “whereas” statement to the resolution that notes this practice. He then altered the resolution to reflect the change toward destroying the police weapons, rather than selling them off.
The council approved the changes, and then approved the resolution by 7-0.
Burgess estimates that the move to destroy the police firearms will cost the city about $30,000 per year in revenue. Though he also said that it is possible the police department will get more bids to replace firearms and ammunition because of the new policy. Burgess suggested that with more bids it is possible the loss could “be a wash.”
The Seattle City Council could make it more difficult for former police weapons to get into the wrong hands.
The council may vote on a proposal Monday to keep the Seattle Police Department’s old guns and ammunition from being sold to the public. Instead, sales would be restricted to certified law enforcement entities.
Seattle police replace or upgrade weapons and ammo every year to the tune of $30,000, KIRO 7 reports. The department currently sells off surplus items to vendors.
Council member Sally Bagshaw proposed the ordinance. Supporters of the legislation argue it will help keep police guns and ammo from hitting the “black market,” KIRO 7 reports. Bagshaw and Mayor Ed Murray say it will help keep guns off the streets.
However, gun rights advocates say the ordinance would restrict the rights of the people who want to legally purchase guns.
The legislation comes about a month after reports said that the gun a man was allegedly reaching for when he was shot was formerly owned by a King County deputy. The Seattle Times reported that police say Che Taylor was reaching for when he was shot to death was formerly Daniel J. Murphy’s sidearm; Murphy was fired by the sheriff’s office last year.