Archive for Thursday, July 27, 2000

State resumes sale of confiscated guns

July 27, 2000


— The state Department of Revenue plans to resume selling confiscated firearms, even though Gov. Bill Graves opposes the practice.

The department has scheduled a gun sale for Saturday, though it declined to say where and when that sale would be. It plans to sell about 400 firearms, 40 percent of them handguns.

Graves said in December that the state shouldn't be selling guns it confiscates in drug raids or prosecutions of drug offenders. He later proposed legislation to prevent the practice.

However, legislators rejected his proposal. Revenue Secretary Karla Pierce said the sale is required by a state law that imposes a tax on illegal drugs.

"The tax laws in this state are specific," Pierce said. "Selling guns and other seized property is the only way to collect that tax."

Sales will be to federally licensed firearm dealers. For that reason, the department is not making the time or place of the sale public, spokesman Scott Holeman said.

"We're afraid that if people hear there is a gun sale, they'll come expecting to buy something and be disappointed when they are turned away," Holeman said.

The state began selling confiscated firearms to licensed dealers at least seven years ago, but the Department of Revenue hasn't made any sales since July 1, 1998. The department said that during the five years that ended on that date, the department sold more than 300 firearms worth more than $50,000.

Kansas, like many other states, requires dealers of illegal drugs to purchase drug tax stamps. Failure to have the stamp is a felony.

The 2-inch-square stamps, each of which has a green marijuana leaf, are sold in denominations of $10, $100, $500 and $1,000.

Weapons and other items seized by law enforcement officials during drug raids are turned over to the Department of Revenue, which determines how much drug tax someone owes. The seized weapons and other items then can be sold by the agency to satisfy the drug tax debt.

One fourth of the money from such sales goes to the state's general fund, and the rest of it goes back to local law enforcement agencies involved in the arrest.

Supporters of Graves' initiative to end the gun sales said the confiscated firearms should be destroyed.

However, the House Federal and State Affairs Committee rejected his bill in February. Its chairman, Rep. Tony Powell, R-Wichita, described it as "a bill in search of a problem."

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