House Bill 1421, passed during the last legislative session, formally permits law enforcement departments to sell found or unclaimed firearms to licensed dealers.
Departments may also sell confiscated firearms left unclaimed after cases that were never prosecuted or did not result in a conviction. In cases that do result in conviction, departments keep the firearms as evidence in case they are needed for appeals.
The law should also permit selling firearms turned in at “gun buyback” events.
The new law gives department another option, said State Representative Charles Perry, Republican of Lubbock and the author of the bill. “It has a fiscal impact in a positive way, and it makes sense if the weapons are in good shape.”
Some departments have policies against selling confiscated firearms and “worry about putting more weapons back on the street.”
The Waco Police Department has not yet decided if it will sell confiscated guns, but “at first blush it is probably not something we will be willing to do just for the fact that we don’t want to put additional weapons back out there on the street that have already been confiscated or used in a crime,” said Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton, the department’s public information officer.
The cities of San Antonio, Houston and Austin, which destroyed hundreds of guns in 2012, have said they will not participate.