Topeka The general public can look, but it can't buy.
That will be the rule during a state Department of Revenue gun auction this weekend. The agency will sell about 400 confiscated firearms to federally licensed gun dealers.
The department plans to resume its firearm sales after nearly two years even though Gov. Bill Graves opposes the practice. The agency originally set the sale for July but postponed it.
State law also dictates that the sale be open to the public. However, a federal law says confiscated firearms can be sold only to licensed dealers. The conflict resulted in the invitation to the public to attend but not purchase anything.
The event was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. today at a warehouse at 130 S. Kansas Ave., north of downtown Topeka.
"We're doing what the law requires," said department spokesman Scott Holeman. "It is our hope that the Legislature will revisit this issue in the next session."
When it scheduled the sale for July, the department did not publicize the time or place because it didn't want people who couldn't buy the guns to show up and become frustrated.
However, the department learned that state law required that the public be notified of the sale, its time and its place.
"Those details had to be worked out," Holeman said.
Graves said in December that the state shouldn't be selling guns it confiscates in drug raids or prosecutions of drug offenders. He and department officials would prefer to have the firearms destroyed.
The governor proposed a bill to prevent the practice, but legislators rejected it.
The state began selling confiscated firearms to licensed dealers at least seven years ago.