Sheriff Plans to Sell Confiscated GunsAP , Associated Press
Apr. 24, 1992 4:52 AM ET
MARTINEZ, CALIF. MARTINEZ, Calif. (AP) _ Many police departments have gun buy-back programs to rid the streets of firearms. But at least one sheriff's office plans to do the opposite - sell them.
Contra Costa County Sheriff Richard Rainey wants to sell about 150 confiscated guns a year through a federally licensed auctioneer. He signed a contract with the Modesto firearms dealer two months ago.
On Thursday, Rainey called gun amnesty programs useless and insisted that there's no difference between weapons available at stores and the ones his department will auction off.
''The thing that convinced me was the argument that it's no different than gun manufacturers selling guns,'' he said. ''These guns are not necessarily getting into the hands of criminals, although there's no guarantee, just like with new guns.''
Rainey's plan has outraged people who want the department to continue to destroy all confiscated weapons, a policy still followed by many police departments.
''We don't need these guns back on the streets of Oakland or Concord or Los Angeles,'' said Carolyn Oliver, spokeswoman for the Contra Costa Law League. ''We don't need these guns at all, I think it's terrible.''
The guns auctioned will be mostly high-quality rifles and shotguns seized during arrests, Rainey said. Illegal assault rifles and small handguns will continue to be destroyed.
He said auction sales should generate $20,000 to $40,000 for the department, which is suffering from three years of budget cuts.
''Anything we can do to bring in money to offset some of those cuts is very important to us,'' Rainey said.