State Auctions Off Shotguns, Rifles

By: Liam Martin Email
By: Liam Martin Email

LANSING -- Just off W. St. Joseph in Lansing, inside an unassuming, red-brick building -- is where the state auctions off thousands of confiscated or lost items.

Books, office chairs, even diapers.

And a big-ticket item -- guns, confiscated by the Department of Natural Resources and sold to Michiganders.

"The next step is that the guns go up for auction on our Internet-auction site," which is called MI Bid, says Kristi Thompson, director of the state's Surplus Services building.

24 rifles and shotguns are currently up for sale on the site, ranging from about $100 to $1,000 in price.

And because the state doesn't require a license for a long gun, if your bid wins, you show up at Surplus Services with ID, sign an affidavit and take your prize home.

"We don't do any type of a background check on the individuals," Thompson says.

But for those leery about the state being in the gun business, Thompson notes these are hunting firearms and points out the process isn't much different from what you'd see at a rifle store -- other than that these guns come at a discount.

The legislature doesn't seem to mind, either.

"It's just one more element in helping to pay for the public safety protection that we have in our communities," says state Rep. Mark Meadows, D-East Lansing.

He notes these auctions bring in thousands of dollars a month -- money that either goes into the state's coffer, or back to the law-enforcement agencies that confiscated the goods.

In fact, Meadows has introduced a bill to change the law, allowing law enforcement to the keep the firearms, instead of selling or destroying them.

He expects it to pass the House soon.


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  • by CSI Grandma Location: Washington, DC on Mar 25, 2011 at 07:57 PM
    Why would you auction off guns and rifles that may contribute to future crimes. They should be destroyed, to help keep crime down. I am from the Washingto,DC area, which is the murder capitol of the US. Take them off the streets, dont off them to future criminals, try growig a brain. I have a daughter that moved there, I want to believe she is going to be safe. Guess I was wrong.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 28, 2011 at 05:35 AM in reply to CSI Grandma
      WOW CSI, You haven't miss a dose of that D.C. Kool-aid have you? Your logic is so out-a-whack; 1. D.C. is not the murder capitol of the U.S. You sent you daughter to the state that has two of the top five murderous cities in America (wanting her to be safe LOL). 2. If guns kill people then cars make people drive drunk. If guns make criminals then forks make people fat. If your daughter is anything like you, please call her to go back home. God knows we don't need anymore unintelligent liberal thinking in this state, there plenty going around.
  • by Trev Location: Lansing on Mar 25, 2011 at 07:19 PM
    It's about time Lansing has done something right!
  • by Lonnie Location: Litchfield on Mar 25, 2011 at 05:17 PM
    The bill to stop the long gun auctions and to give the police departments the long guns is misdirected. The guns being auctioned are hunting guns and probably most of them would not be the same make and model of guns used by the police departments. Most police departments require specific makes and models of guns to be used by on-duty police officers. This allows each officer to be using the same type and model of weapon that has the same handling characteristics. Used guns can have problems with their triggers and injection/ejection mechanisms; or, be physically marked up or damaged. Police departments get discounts when buying new guns which usually makes buying new guns affordable. New guns bought by the police should automatically operate within the expected capabilities of the gun; and if not, then the new gun can be returned under warranty to the manufacturer for repair or replacement which would not happen with used guns taken off the streets and given to the police.
  • by Ken Location: Eaton Rapids on Mar 25, 2011 at 03:12 PM
    When I lived in Australia, confiscated guns were dumped into deep water in the Pacific Ocean. Years later, they banned and confiscated all guns, yet, there are still guns which are mostly owned by criminals.
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