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Council Votes To Destroy Confiscated Guns Rather Than Sell Them

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Doug Nadvornick/Cable 5
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The Spokane City Council voted last night [Monday] to require the police department to destroy long guns it has confiscated during arrests or via court action. The tally was six-to-one.

The vote brings some consistency to city policy. In 1993, the council voted to abolish the sale of shorter guns, such as pistols, that were forfeited.

The sponsor of the ordinance, Councilwoman Candace Mumm, says law enforcement agencies in Washington have sold more than six thousand of these firearms during the last several years.

“According to the Associated Press, more than a dozen seized or forfeited guns were sold by law enforcement legally that did end up in the hands of criminals in a relatively short amount of time and used in new crimes. Those guns that were purchased in our state were then recovered from crime scenes across the country," Mumm said.

Some of them as far away as the East Coast.

Heidi Christiansen urged the council to find a more beneficial use for the confiscated firearms.

“Mother of God, I don’t want any object used to hurt someone. And the facts are we don’t want to suppress our law enforcement," Christiansen said. "At the same time, we don’t want guns recycled on the streets to commit the same crimes. So why not use these for a program for gun safety.”

The city estimates the Spokane Police Department has raised nearly $17,000 during the last seven years from selling confiscated firearms. Supporters of the ordinance say it’s a relatively minor source of revenue for the department. They also point to the cost of cataloguing and storing those guns.