Gazette Editorial Board
Tracking and dismantling gun trafficking networks can reduce
the availability of crime guns — a worthy endeavor we support.
But we see no harm in the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ auctioning off seized long guns, including crime guns no longer needed as evidence, to law-abiding users for legitimate use.
Under current practice, Iowa law enforcement agencies must relinquish to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation any seized guns no longer needed as evidence.
The DCI reserves a few for a reference collection; the remaining handguns are destroyed or added to law enforcement arsenals.
The long guns are given to the DNR to sell, along with other hunting tools such as bows and traps, at an annual fundraiser.
Some Iowans worry that practice could increase the availability of weapons to domestic abusers and other criminals. We are sympathetic to their concerns, but disagree.
The guns sold by the DNR are legal and commonly available sporting weapons. The agency requires a valid firearms permit for every purchase. There have been no known incidents of law enforcement reseizing a long gun sold at auction.
So while we agree that crime guns should be a top priority, we have no concerns about this sale.
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