North Carolina lawmakers are pushing a new bill that would give law enforcement more discretion on how to dispose of seized firearms.
Currently, North Carolina law requires law enforcement to either store the firearms seized during investigations or sell them back to the public.
The proposed bill, dubbed the Seized Weapons Security Act, would give law enforcement the option to destroy seized firearms instead.
Bill sponsor Senator Michael Garrett said that bill 450 would prevent weapons from ending up in the wrong hands and would also have the upside of reducing storage costs.
“Under state law right now, they either store them, which is very expensive as we have some cities that have over 15,000 weapons in storage, or sell them to the public,” Garrett said.
“Many police and sheriff’s departments are choosing to hold on to tens of thousands of these guns because they know they pose a threat to the communities they serve. This bill will allow these seized and unclaimed guns to be destroyed.”
According to The Raleigh News & Observer, 74,000 seized guns remain in storage at North Carolina’s 10 most populous cities.
Garrett emphasized that the bill is not an attack on Second Amendment rights, but rather a way to address gun violence in the country.
“I support the Second Amendment, I think all my colleagues support the Second Amendment, and that’s not something we’re trying to address here,” Garrett said. “Whether you’re Republican or whether you’re Democrat, most people trust law enforcement to make the best decision to keep their community safe. And all this bill is giving them that flexibility,” he added.
The proposal follows Louisville Mayor Greenberg’s call to change Kentucky laws on firearms after a shooting that left five people dead.
“Under current Kentucky law, the assault rifle that was used to murder five of our neighbors and shoot at rescuing police officers will one day be auctioned off,” Greenberg said. “Think about that. That murder weapon will be back on the streets one day under Kentucky’s current law.”
Garrett hopes the proposed bill will help address gun violence in the country.
“It was heartbreaking to turn on the television a couple weeks ago and watch pre-K children with their backpacks on walking hand and hand fleeing their school because it was the site of another mass shooting. I just ask my colleagues when enough is enough,” he commented.