3/10/2010 4:30:00 PM
Gun auction nets $15,000 toward new bulletproof vests
By Steven Thomas
March 10, 2010
More than 250 handguns and long guns confiscated in criminal cases
over the past several years in the city were auctioned to federally
licensed dealers last month and the proceeds will be used to purchase
bulletproof vests for police.
Head Auction auctioned the guns at its facility at 289-A Commerce Park
Police Chief Dickie Sistrunk submitted a list of surplus firearms to
the Mayor and Board of Aldermen at a Febuary meeting. While most were
auctioned, many were destroyed for various reasons including no
visible serial numbers, the chief said.
Three Glock .40 handguns, similar to those currently used by police
officers, were added to the department's inventory.
Mayor James A. Young voiced concern that certain firearms, such as
automatic weapons and high-powered rifles, should not be allowed back
on the streets.
"We took them off the streets from drug dealers and people who don't
care for life," Young said. "I'd rather we cut them up than put them
back on the streets."
Chief Sistrunk assured the board that no automatic weapons or sawed
off shotguns would be placed on the auction.
He said that high power rifles and shotguns were not the weapons of
choice for criminals but used mostly by hunters.
Alderman Cecil Nichols agreed, noting that the department had plenty
of surplus shotguns and that they needed to be disposed of properly.
Many of the guns stemmed from drug cases while others were seized
after being discharged inside the city limits, the police chief said.
Some of the guns have been in the police vault for over 20 years.
The auction brought in just under $15,000, for the police department,
with 10 percent going to Head Auction. According to Sistrunk, there
were a number of small guns that were not in the best condition so
they sold for a lot less.
Sistrunk told the board that proceeds from the auction would be used
to purchase new bulletproof vests, a requirement under the law.
The police department has an ongoing need for bulletproof vests,
Sistrunk said, because they only have a five-year lifespan. After
that, they lose effectiveness, he said.
"The vests will hopefully save one of my officer's lives," Sistrunk
William Head, a Philadelphia native, oversaw the auction.
He told aldermen at the Feb. 16 meeting that he had conducted similar
auctions for the state Bureau of Narcotics, the Internal Revenue
Service and the U. S. Marshal Service.
We only sell to federally licensed firearms dealers, he said.
Any dealer without a license was not allowed to attend the auction,
Before a dealer can resale one of the guns, the law requires him to
perform a background check on any perspective buyer, he said.