As part of CBS 46’s ongoing coverage of gun policies and issues in the Atlanta area they recently reported that Mayor Kasim Reed (D) and Police Chief George Turner are sitting on more than “10,000” confiscated guns in defiance of a Georgia law which requires them to return the guns to their owners or sell them to the public in an auction.
The sellback measure was signed into law in 2012 by Governor Nathan Deal (R).
According to CBS 46, “police could destroy guns or use [them] for training” prior to 2012, but are now required by law to make them available to the public by selling them to licensed dealers, importers, and others who will then sell them to private citizens.”
Mayor Reed said: “It is very difficult for me to lead on this because even in the state of Georgia, when we take illegal guns off the street according to Georgia state law we have to return them or make them available to the public, in some form.”
And Chief Turner said, “We cannot destroy the guns. We have an obligation according to the new law, that we have to maintain those weapons after they’ve been adjudicated…we have an obligation to resell that [gun], rebid that out and get that out to gun purchasers so that they can resell those. The city of Atlanta has not done that.”
But Turner suggest he “has not defied the Georgia legislature,” rather, he “is in a holding pattern as a law enforcement officer.”
In addition to banning the destruction of guns and requiring they be resold, the sellback law requires that the auction to sell guns back to the public shall “in no event…occur less frequently than once every six months during any time in which the political subdivision or state custodial agency has an inventory of salable guns.”
Yet “in three and a half years the city has not sold…confiscated guns to licensed gun dealers.”
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Georgia Carry–a gun rights group that supported the passage of the sellback law in 2012–is “examining the possibility of a lawsuit to force the city to obey state law.”
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins.