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Police departments have been selling, instead of destroying, the guns they confiscate for at least 20 years!

1987 - Virginia - Norfolk occasionally sells confiscated weapons

1999 - St Paul - Sheriffs ready to sell confiscated guns

2000 - Kentucky State Law, Police have to sell confiscated guns

This is not a new story, however I would like to add an important twist.  I will prove that

The military has been giving police departments surplus military weapons like m14s and m16s for at least 20 years.  

Read this article for details of military transfer of weapons to police etc:

Why is the Federal Government Militarizing our Police Departments?

The military equipment the police department receives can become surplus equipment the police sell to arms dealers.

Here's CBS's 2009 story.  I think we need to take another look at this disturbing issue.  Specifically, that police departments around the country are now arms dealers, making sure that guns used in heinous crimes are recycled FOR A PROFIT!

When Police Are Arms Dealers

At the time of the Littleton massacre, local officials - including the Jefferson County sheriff - condemned assault weapons as having only one purpose: killing people.

But CBS News has learned that four of the five departments responding to the scene that day sell or trade their used weapons - including assault rifles - to gun dealers.

But the biggest bang for the buck may come from the Irving, Texas, police - the only department we found that sold grenade launchers.

The paper trail leads to a licensed firearms dealer in Idaho who is offering them on his Web site for $3,500 a piece.

Also read Part II of th CBS report:  Police Put Guns On The Street  Here's a snippet:
According to documents obtained by CBS News, over a two-year period San Francisco police sold or traded more than 100 of their assault weapons, including AR-15s and Uzis.

But of all the cities looked at by CBS News, it is Detroit, once the nation's murder capital, that now ranks No. 1 in the gun business.

According to contracts and shipping records, over the last seven years, the Detroit Police Department made nearly a million dollars selling 14 tons of used weapons, mostly handguns, to a Vermont dealer.

Isn't that great.  Who uses a grenade launcher for hunting?

I tripped onto this issue this afternoon while researching some EPA issues with a town.  While reading the small town's December, 2010 Meeting minutes I saw this:

4. Consideration of declaration of surplus weapons and authorization to trade for goods.

Motion: Councilman XXXX made a motion to approve to declare the weapons presented by the Police Department as surplus and to authorize that department to trade the items for ammunition with a licensed firearm dealer.

Councilman XXXXX seconded the motion.

All voted in favor and the motion carried.

I live in an ALEC petri dish so the above raised the question:

Is this going on nationally?

Yes, it is and has been for quite a few years, maybe more than a decade.

This is a big story.  CBS covers the police gun trading quite well.  

Below, I will also demonstrate that the transfer of military assault weapons to police has taken place since at least 1993 or the year before the Federal Assault Weapons Ban

This is unsettling.  Beginning in 1993, the US Military began distributing M14s, M16s, and even 2 grenade launchers to police Massachusetts police departments:

Here's a list for Massachusetts showing .

Mass. police departments with surplus weapons

Some 82 local police departments in Massachusetts, many of them hamlets with little or no violent crime and no known terrorist threats, have obtained 1,068 weapons under a federal program that distributes surplus guns from the US military, records show.

Source: US Defense Reutilization & Marketing Service

Which town received which weapons?  Click the link above and read through the list.
The BOSTON POLICE DEPT was approved to receive 100 m16 RIFLE, 5.56 millimeter on 3/23/2009   

The WEST SPRINGFIELD Police Dept received 2 m74 Grenade Launchers and an M21, semi-automatic rifle intended for sniper use, both approved 5/31/1996

Why would the military distribute semi-automatic assault rifles, grenade launchers, and sniper rifles to city and town police departments?

The Federal Assault Weapons ban describes assault weapon

The term assault weapon, when used in the context of assault-weapon laws, refers primarily (but not exclusively) to semi-automatic firearms that possess the cosmetic features of an assault rifle that is fully automatic.
The military has been distributing semi-automatic weapons to police departments for at least 20 years, although the rate increased in the last decade.

Descriptions of the military's m14 and m16 rifles from Wikipedia:

The M14's powerful 7.62×51 mm cartridge, the weapon was deemed virtually uncontrollable in fully automatic mode, so most M14s were permanently set to semi-automatic fire only to avoid wasting ammunition in combat.
The M16 rifle, officially designated Rifle, Caliber 5.56 mm, M16, is the United States military version of the AR-15 rifle. The rifle was adapted for semi-automatic, three-round burst, and full-automatic fire.

In 2010, the M16 began to be phased out in the U.S. Army and is being supplemented by the M4 carbine, which is itself a shortened derivative of the M16A2.

The used military equipment is distributed through the Defense Reutilization & Marketing Office (DMRO).

Maybe there are some gun laws that can never get passed, but I do think citizens can let their local City Councils know how they feel about the police recycling guns used in crimes against us.


Assault weapons sold by a police department:

Perhaps Congress can pass a law BANNING the resale of confiscated guns by police departments.  I don't see how that would infringe on any Constitutional rights.

Google search "confiscated guns" police

Guns From High-Profile Shootings Had Same Origin
Two guns used in high-profile shootings this year at the Pentagon and a Las Vegas courthouse both came from the same unlikely place: the police and court system of Memphis, Tenn.

Law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that both guns were once seized in criminal cases in Memphis. The officials described how the weapons made their separate ways from an evidence vault to gun dealers and to the shooters.

We can stop this.  

We can stop the military from putting military grade weapons in the hands of our local police, for one.

At the very least, we can stop the police from selling the military grade weapons given to them to their local gun/arms dealers.  No police department should be selling grenade launchers!

And why not destroy confiscated guns?  It would be great for the gun manufacturing business.

If Congress refuses to stop police departments from selling weapons, Congress can at least pass a law requiring the police to attach a Pedigree like "this gun killed a wife and three children" so the buyer knows the gun's karma.

No wonder the USA is awash in guns and semi-automatic weapons.

Some random articles:

New York -Police seize 154 illegal pistols, machine guns, rifles from Brooklyn streets, origins traced to 11 states

Originally posted to War on Error on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 06:45 PM PST.

Also republished by Police Accountability Group and Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  hey, WoE: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error, gerrilea

    if Bob shows, tell him i'm still waiting.

    we work too hard, don't we...

    There is no Article II power which says the Executive can violate the Constitution.--@Hugh * Addington's Perpwalk: TRAILHEAD of Accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.

    by greenbird on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 06:54:10 PM PST

    •  Sometimes it feels that way. (4+ / 0-)

      I think this miliary to police to arms dealers might explain why so many semi-automatics are on the streets.

      It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

      by War on Error on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 07:01:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You maybe missed something. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KVoimakas, War on Error, PavePusher

        Correct me if I'm wrong...

        The m16 is a full auto / burst fire designation.
        The ar15 is a semi-auto designation for the m16.

        So when your blockquote says:

        The BOSTON POLICE DEPT was approved to receive 100 m16 RIFLE, 5.56 millimeter on 3/23/2009
        Aren't you really pointing out that the (civilian) boston police department was approved to receive military grade gear?

        Not the superficial "military style", but actual military grade?

        It's safe to trust a sane person with the keys to nuclear weapons, but it's not safe to trust an insane person with the cleaners under the kitchen sink. The answer is not more gun control, it's people care.

        by JayFromPA on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:08:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Kentucky is auctioning confiscated guns next month (4+ / 0-)

    It's LOTS of guns;

    Even some assault guns like a Norinco SKS;

    Norinco SKS photo Norinco_zps0646bced.jpg

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 07:06:36 PM PST

  •  Hey, thanks for the indepth look at this. I've (8+ / 0-)

    known about this ever since that Pentagon shooting and/or the "DC sniper" case... I remember one of the channels saying the guns came from the same Police Station in Tennessee.

    That's why I've been so cynical of these "gun buyback" programs.  They use our public funds to buy crappy guns people don't want THEN they sell them to make up budget shortfalls?  It makes no sense whatsoever.

    Seems like a shell game and a charade to make Americans believe they are being kept safe.  Ugh....

    There was a recent diary on how the gun buyback program was undercut in Seattle or Portland when Gun Shops set up tables before the Police tables and offered the sellers more money than the police were paying.  

    People were outraged here....But no one wanted to listen.

    Since the police knew it was perfectly legal for gun shop owners to do exactly that AND they still went along with their gun buyback program, it's clear they weren't doing it to get the guns off the street.

    Thanks again for letting people know the truth.

    -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

    by gerrilea on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 07:07:21 PM PST

  •  If the firearms are legal (6+ / 0-)

    for civilian ownership then not selling them would be a waste of taxpayer money. If the government has got it we paid for it at some point.

    A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by notrouble on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 07:15:35 PM PST

  •  It's even more stupid in KY than that... (4+ / 0-)

    A few years ago, when this was a current ongoing controversy, one of the reasons given for these auctions was raising funds to purchase body armor/bulletproof vests for the police departments.

    Who says conservative gun nuts don't appreciate irony?

    •  My local town used proceeds to buy more ammo (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes, Joieau

      Very disconcerting

      It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

      by War on Error on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 07:38:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unless you believe police should not have firearms (0+ / 0-)

        I'm not sure what's disconcerting about the town spending auction money to help them buy ammunition. (Not talking about how they got that money, just what they choose to spend it on.)

    •  And if they sold a confiscated car... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that was used in a hit-and-run?

      What guilt then?

      Your hate-mail will be graded.

      by PavePusher on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:38:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Strange assertion, isn't it? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Inanimate objects that were involved in a fatal accident or crime don't capture the souls of the victim and curse later owners. A Honda Civic involved in a hit and run is functionally identical to a Honda Civic that didn't.

        What I believe is really going on is that people going on about the guilt and horror of firearms used in crimes is that they think the firearm is evil to begin with, or to be more charitable, that they think the firearm shouldn't be owned by the common gun owner. That a given firearm was used in a crime is meant to highlight the guilt that someone is supposed to feel in the first place for buying one.

        Pure supposition on my part, of course, but what is plain is that there's an emotional undercurrent rather than a logical one.

  •  Now we see why there can be no tracking (3+ / 0-)

    of guns to the last seller. No registry. The police don't want a registry either.

  •  Some of them are legal others not. (8+ / 0-)

    The basic rule is that most of the weapons taken by police are legal for sale and sold into the FFL system (that means a NICS check is required).  The Grenade launcher is a destructive device and can only be legally sold under the Class III rules (IIRC).  The background check is about the same as a Secret clearance as I understand it.  

    M14s and M16s are not civilian transferable unless it was done pre-1986 (Hughes amendment) as they are machine guns.  These weapons are sold and then most broken up for parts.  M14s would mostly be scrapped and the parts reused on a civilian receiver.  The M16s will almost certainly become parts kits.  Then they get rebuilt with civilian AR15 receivers and a semi-auto only bolt carrier with a few other new parts.  

    The basic rule is once a machine gun, always a machine gun.  This applies to the receiver only.  Replace the receiver and the related parts and the rest can be reused.  In reality the barrel would most likely be replaced on the M16s.  

    Its late and I am tired.  I am not going to find sources for it all so feel free to Google to learn more:

    Parts Kit
    Class 3
    Destructive Device
    National Firearms Act
    Hughes Amendment
    Interstate Transfer of Firearms

    There are many 10s of millions of weapons worldwide.  During the cold war the Russians produced and stored millions of rifles and handguns in preparation for a war that never came.  Being durable goods, when the Iron Curtain collapsed, they were sold on the market.  That horse left the barn before the Russians even started stocking captured K98s away after World War II.  That was accomplished by the First World War and the surplus arms trade afterwords.  

    Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism the roles are reversed.

    by DavidMS on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:12:01 PM PST

  •  Wow. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error

    Just wow.

  •  Not all grenade launchers are military-grade, (9+ / 0-)

    military GLs are typically 40mm and civilian ones are typically 37mm. They won't fit each other. Civilian grenades for launchers are usually for illumination or flares, and sometimes smoke or tear gas. Whistlers are common, too.

    Flares and illumination are good for search and rescue in the dark; whistlers are used to scare away wildlife. Smoke and tear gas can be used for crowd control.

    There's also beanbag rounds for GLs, and even a net that can be fired. Rubber pellets for crowd control are also available.

    The semi-automatic rifles are legal to own and sell, at least for the time being, so there's no breach in ethics from a legal standpoint. Firearms that are no longer needed as evidence (the court case is done, one way or another) are now just back to being regular firearms, so again, many are sold since they were legal to begin with-- and their role as crime weapons is done. The only time police are obligated to destroy weapons is in those buy-back programs (although that may be different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction).

    Even so, some military-grade weapons are still legal to sell, but can only go to select buyers, like Class-III licensees or Destructive Device holders. And since 1934, only two legally owned full-autos have been used in criminal activity.

    So... it's probably not what you may think it is. This is one of the reasons why I am so pedantic about pointing out proper terminology and knowledge.

  •  So many people here... (8+ / 0-)

    ...just pee in their pants at the thought that a legal firearm might be sold to a private citizen. The whole idea of having laws is that when and if they are followed risk is minimized. There is simply no indication of illegality here.

    As if we needed any more proof that the War on Drugs is stupid, a Kennedy is supporting it.

    by wishbone on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:40:30 PM PST

    •  This is the point of this diary. Change the laws (0+ / 0-)

      Yes, this churning of confiscated weapons by the police is legal.  That can be changed by law.

      Recycled confiscated guns, sold by police departments, can end up at gun shows and find their way into the hands of criminals AGAIN.


      Pentagon shooter's gun had many previous owners

      I think that laws can be passed to curtail this, which could reduce the number of guns on the streets without infringing on any constitutional rights.

      It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

      by War on Error on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 07:16:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, if basically * anyone * can sell weapons (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error, PavePusher

    in this country, why not the police?

    Just saying, there are people out there I worry about more than the police in this regard (which is really quite a scary admission, actually).

  •  So why would we bother? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Why's it matter whether someone buys a legal gun from the police or a private gun dealer?

    If we simply destroy confiscated police guns, all we do is cost the government money.  Any lessening in supply will simply be made up by private gun manufacturing.

    It'd basically be a big subsidy to gun manufacturers, since we're taking old inventory out of circulation (and guns can last a very long time.)

  •  Sigh.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Who uses a grenade launcher for hunting?
    1. The Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting.

    2. When you can buy grenades OTC, then you'll have a talking point.  Until then, it's a metal tube with a trigger mechanism, and useless unless you break into a military armory.

    3. "military grade weaponry" doesn't mean what you are so patently trying to imply.  Selling fear is not your job.  It shouldn't be any Democrat's/Progressive's job.

    Your hate-mail will be graded.

    by PavePusher on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:34:09 AM PST

    •  Perhaps you could write a diary (0+ / 0-)

      Explaining why police selling military assault  weapons is not a problem.  You seem to have some knowledge on this subject.

      It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

      by War on Error on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 06:47:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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