New bill could mean guns used in violent crimes head back to streets

Indiana State Police say they destroy up to 100 guns each year, many of which are used in violent crimes. But if a new bill passes, those guns will be returned to the streets.

Senate bill 229 would ban police departments and local government from holding gun buy-back programs. It would also force police departments to auction or sell nearly all guns that are seized and that includes those used in even deadly crimes.

Sergeant Jason Cullum with the Evansville Police Department says about 20 years ago, they used to auction off guns. But police say they stopped auctioning the firearms when a gun that was in police custody was put back on the streets and ended up being used in a second violent crime.

EPD says they haven't actively pursued the possibility of auctioning firearms again. Officials estimate they seize about 200 guns each year. Many of those guns are held in evidence and then are court-ordered to be destroyed.

But if this bill passes, those guns must be auctioned, not destroyed. Local residents have mixed reactions about returning large numbers of guns to the streets.

"I think there are to many guns on the street. The idea of selling them and making money on it and putting them back out there, I don't think it's a good idea," resident Bill Nesmith says.

"With as many laws and regulations that are in place on the front side of purchasing a gun legally, I think those should come into play with the buyback guns to regulate who they are being sold to so they get into the hands of people that can enjoy the guns and don't get into the hands of people committing the crimes," Indiana resident, Brian McGuire says.

The bill passed in the Senate this week and is now headed to the full House for approval.

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