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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