Why Destroying Guns Is Bad For Cities

Lately, there’s been something of a push for communities to destroy confiscated firearms. The argument is that by selling those firearms to dealers, you’re simply funneling guns right back into criminal hands. No community leader wants to do that, so they’ve taken to destroying the firearms instead.

However, there’s a cost involved in doing that.

Now, it’s unclear who foots the cost of destroying firearms. If the cities themselves do, they have to pay out money. If not, then the scrap companies do, which means cities aren’t getting nearly as much money.

Yet there’s a much better way.

The Aiken Department of Public Safety is looking to offload dozens of surplus guns to the highest bidder.

Up for grabs are Smith & Wessons, Berettas, Rugers, Colts, a Glock and more, ranging from good to poor condition, documents posted to the city’s website show.

A request for proposals was published earlier this month. Bids are due in November. Picking and choosing from the lot is not allowed.

The batch of guns for sale stems from confiscations and adjudicated cases, City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh said Monday. The city, he added, has for years conducted these sort of bulk sales; the revenue helps fund city operations, of which Public Safety is a significant part.

That’s right, by selling these firearms–assuming there’s no lawful owner to be found–can actually help fund city operations. While I’m not a fan of civil asset forfeiture, this is a different animal entirely. These are guns that are taken from people who can’t lawfully have a gun. They’re then sold back to the community, raising money to continue fighting crime.

Further, these guns can then be sold to people who might not otherwise be able to afford a firearm.

“But then criminals will get them all over again.”

Yeah, it seems that happens in some places. However, let’s also be clear that if the crooks aren’t getting these guns, they’re getting different guns. There’s no reason to believe criminals will be disarmed if these firearms are destroyed.

See, these guns aren’t just handed out on street corners. They’re sold to licensed dealers who then conduct NICS background checks for each sale. While a criminal may straw buy a gun somehow or eventually steal the firearm from a lawful buyer, they’re not just walking back into the store and getting their gun handed back to them.

Again, though, if they want a gun, they’re going to get a gun.

Meanwhile, because of the relatively low cost for these firearms, dealers can offer these guns at pretty low prices. This means a new gun buyer, particular someone of limited financial means, can actually afford a quality firearm rather than the low-cost junk they’re usually stuck with.

More people armed helps police as well, which means the benefits for law enforcement becomes something of a double-whammy. Not only do they get the money from selling the weapons, but more armed citizens means more trouble for criminals. That’s a win-win if ever I saw one.