Bibb sheriff's office seizing hundreds of guns per year

Seized guns making sheriff's office money

In the last 2 years, the Bibb County Sheriff's Office says they have seized over 500 guns from crime scenes and convicted felons or guns that have just been turned in. 

But where do those guns go?

Colonel Aubrey Evins with the Bibb County Sheriff's Office says when they find firearms that are used to commit crimes like armed robberies, assaults, or murders, they must be taken in as evidence. 

"Once it's been taken care of, or disposed of, it can go back to the rightful owner, or it stays and becomes part of the sheriff's office," says Evins. 

He says firearms are also collected at routine traffic stops, collected from convicted felons, or are turned into the Sheriff's Office and those numbers start to add up. 

According to Evins, the Bibb County Sheriff's office seized just under 300 guns in 2016, but how does that compare to other Central Georgia counties?

Records from openga.gov show the Houston County Sheriff's Office collected only 19 guns in 2016, Jones County, 4, and Laurens County, only 1.  

"A lot of people are buying guns now to arm themselves for home protection and they end up stolen or lost. Somehow, they end up at the sheriff's office," says Evins. 

But then what? Where do the hundreds of guns go? According to Evins, the sheriff's office sends them to be auctioned off. 

Georgia code used to require law enforcement agencies to destroy forfeited guns, but now the law requires them to sell firearms at public auctions. 

Jim Davis owns T. Lynn Davis auction company in Macon, and he says local sheriff's offices are starting to come around more to selling them. 

He says since the law changed last year, he's held gun auctions for the Bibb County Sheriff's Office and the Oconee Regional Task Force.

"A lot of times 700 to 800 people show up here and they're going to get a good price for them," says Davis. 

And the sheriff's office is going to get a good return. 

According to Lt. Randy Gonzalez with the Bibb County Sheriff's Office, in 2016 the department raised nearly $87,000 from confiscated gun sales.

"The money goes back into the Bibb County Sheriff's confiscation fund, which is used for investigative equipment, training equipment, and for our K9s," says Evins. 

And how does law enforcement make sure the guns aren't getting back into the wrong hands?

"To bid on the gun, it has to either be a gun dealer or has to be in possession of a Georgia carry weapon permit and have a valid driver's license, and fill out of a Georgia gun weapon form," says Evins. 

Davis says he has had some customers complain in the past that they need to have a "carry license" to bid on a gun, but he says that's the only way to ensure the firearm is going to someone legally qualified to have it. 

The next firearm auction will be at T. Lynn Davis auction company on October 14th. 

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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