West Virginia's Gov't-Run Gun Auction Raises Cash For Cops

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

In anti-gun locales like Los Angeles or New York, it’s not uncommon for police departments to melt down or destroy firearms that are seized or turned in during compensated confiscation events. In more pro-2A jurisdictions, however, you’re far more likely to see agencies auction off seized firearms and put the proceeds back into law enforcement. Policies vary from state to state and even city to city, with Ohio destroying most seized firearms while neighboring Kentucky requires departments to sell seized firearms once they’re no longer needed in criminal investigations or court cases.

West Virginia is one of those states that auctions off seized firearms, and this week more than 600 guns went up for sale in an auction run by the state’s treasurer.

“We’re very excited to be able to help fund the police here in the state, particularly when you have so many people talking about defunding the police,” said state Treasurer Riley Moore.

The auction was held Thursday at the Treasure’s Office warehouse in Charleston. More than 600 firearm lots were available for bid. Last year, the auction was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which created a backlog of weapons.

Moore said they worked with police departments across the state to collect weapons that were old, seized or not being used for an extended period of time.

“This comes from evidence rooms or firearms that the police departments and communities around our state no longer use, so then we auction them off and those proceeds go directly back to those police departments,” Moore said.

While gun control organizations and anti-gun politicians have slammed these types of auctions because they put guns “back on the street”, in West Virginia, local law enforcement say the gun sales are a big boost to their bottom line.

Ravenswood Police Chief Lance Morrison took part in the auction and said the money they’ll receive back will be used to pay for upgraded equipment within the department.

“Things such as radios, bullet proof vests, active shooter gear, weapons and ammunition that are obviously increasing in value now,” Morrison said.

The money is also used to pay for officer training programs and upgraded facilities. For example, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department used the funds from a previous auction to purchase land and build their new facility.

“I have a portable radio that we just purchased due to unclaimed property money. We purchased 10 of those. It was over $15,000. That was something that has enabled us to upgrade our technology that we wouldn’t have been able to do so without the state Treasurer’s Office,” Morrison said.

That’s not much of a selling point for gun control activists on the Left, particularly those who think police departments should be de-funded. The Daily Beast recently covered Kentucky’s online auction of firearms, and came away less than impressed.

The “July 12 KSP Firearms Auction List” shows that 1,008 guns will be available to the highest bidder. And because the great majority of the weapons figured in a crime, the list affords some insight into which instruments of death are favored by law breakers. Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistols appear to be the most popular.

I’d quote more, but it’s all just as ridiculously overwrought at this excerpt. Author Michael Daly seems to find an almost spiritual power in destroying firearms rather than auctioning them off to fund law enforcement; melting sin away as each gun is melted down. I doubt he truly believes that destroying guns reduces crime, but if he does, he should take a look at what’s happening in New York City right now. A lot of guns are being seized and will be turned into scrap, but the purge of pistols and other firearms is having absolutely no impact on the city’s crime rate; which tends to be the result when the Left targets firearms themselves and not the far smaller number of people who would use them to aid in their violent crimes.