Kentucky’s Bizarre Bill to Destroy Resources for Irrational Purposes

Everybody feel safer yet now that these are in a box instead of "on the street"? iStock-1365229422
Kentucky’s Bizarre Bill to Destroy Resources for Irrational Purposes iStock-1365229422

A bill before the Kentucky legislature aims to roll back a reform of firearms law enacted to preserve resources for the benefit of the public. In 2000, on July 14, a Kentucky gun law reform bill became effective. The bill prevented departments from destroying valuable property. It required police departments to send the property to the Kentucky State Police (KSP) to be auctioned to firearm dealers instead of being destroyed.

The funds obtained by the auction are used to help make police departments more effective. Since the year 2000, about 20 million dollars of revenue has been generated by the program. As more people own more guns, more guns are confiscated. In 2022, $1.1 million dollars was generated by the program, according to Fox56news. The average revenue generated in the last five years is 1.09 million dollars per year, based on KSP records obtained by AmmoLand and other reports of 6555 guns seized in 2023.

All auctioned firearms are placed in the ordinary channels of commercial sales. They are subject to all the restrictions and limitations placed on the sale of new firearms.

Basic economics apply: At any given time, the demand for a product can be satisfied by a new product, product obtained on the used market, or a combination of both new and used products. It is also possible for consumers to be manufacturers and make their own products.

The more used firearms are sold, the more demand for new firearms is reduced. The practical effect of selling confiscated and surrendered firearms is to reduce the profit of firearms manufacturers while satisfying the demand created by those seeking legal firearms.

The proposed bill, SB 178, would require KSP to destroy firearms used in a violent crime.

Subject to the duty to return confiscated firearms to innocent owners pursuant to KRS 500.090, all firearms confiscated by the Department of Kentucky 5State Police and not retained for official use pursuant to KRS 500.090 may  [shall] be destroyed or sold at public auction to federally licensed firearms dealers holding a license appropriate for the type of firearm sold, but if the firearm was used in the commission of an offense that would classify a person as a violent offender under KRS 439.3401, then the firearm shall be destroyed.

The effect of the law would be much broader. The law is specifically changed to allow the destruction of firearms, with may be destroyed substituted for shall be sold. The incentives created by this bill are perverse. How is anyone to know what firearms are “used” with what crimes? There is no requirement for a tracking system to track firearms with particular crimes. If such a system is created, the cost of maintaining it defeats much of the benefit of selling the firearms. If a local police department claims all of its guns are “associated” with such crimes, who is going to investigate them? The Louisville Police department is already attempting to defeat the purpose of the required firearms auctions.

What are the benefits of the bill? Here are the emotional claims.

But for grieving families like Trabue’s, the only thing that matters, is preventing more loss and heartbreak.

“I want this to be where these guns are not back out in the streets killing someone else and then destroying someone else’s family,” Trabue said.

Those claims are objectively false. The firearms are put into normal commercial channels of commerce. They are subject to the same controls as new guns. If they are not available, plenty of new guns are available. If a person cannot obtain a used gun, they need only buy a new gun instead. The idea of destroying used guns, instead of selling them, to prevent crime, is absurd. The absurdity is shown in the second sentence. Guns do not kill people. Guns do not have volition. A particular gun is no more likely to be used to kill someone than another gun of similar function and caliber.

The objective result of the bill would be to enrich gun manufacturers at the expense of the citizens of Kentucky.

The purpose of the bill is to reinforce a bizarre view of reality: Guns are bad. Destroying guns is good. The view, in a society where the legal selling of guns is protected by the foundational legal document (the Constitution) is delusional. Destroy one gun, and another is easily made and sold.  Destroying guns only makes sense if there is a limited supply of guns. In reality, the supply of guns is unlimited. The reason to destroy a gun in this scenario is to propagate the ideology “guns are bad”. Such irrational ideology should be rejected and opposed at all levels of society.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean WeingartenDean Weingarten

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