SPOKANE, Wash. -- A new report shows some firearms resold by Washington State law enforcement end up in new crime investigations.
The report from the Associated Press comes after a year-long analysis using hundreds of public records to match up the serial numbers on those resold guns.
Like most states, Washington lets law enforcement agencies decide whether to destroy, sell or trade crime scene firearms. Spokane City code requires its police department to destroy all confiscated handguns but they can sell long guns. KREM 2 was not able to find out how many resold firearms from Spokane police ended up in new crimes.
Washington State law said firearms can only be sold to licensed firearm dealers. In 2016, the Spokane Police Department auctioned off 103 city and county abandoned firearms and 145 items like magazines, ammo and holsters. This brought in $14,736.75. The funds are used to make upgrades to the evidence facility.
In the same year, the department sold five city seized long guns and 11 other items. That's a total of just over $704. The funds raised from seized firearms go to a specific "seizure fund" account with limits on what they can be used for. Police would not elaborate on specific uses of that fund. The city is required to pay 10 percent to Washington state on sold items.
In total, the Spokane Police Department received more than $15,000 from firearm sales in 2016. Officials said their firearm auctions are coordinated with an auctioneer at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and an ATF representative onsite verifies that dealers at the auction are legally licensed.