The conservative city of Colorado Springs, Co., is taking an unusual, some might say extreme, step to try to stem its fiscal woes: It’s entering the gun business, the Los Angeles Ties reports. The City Council is expected soon to approve the final details of a program that would allow the police department to sell confiscated firearms to federally licensed gun dealers. Police have already stopped melting down the hundreds of guns they collect from crime scenes, drug houses, or civilians who don’t need them anymore. The sales are projected to bring in about $10,000 a year, only a slight dent for a city that faced a deficit of one-quarter its $200-million annual budget this year. It still helps, said Vice Mayor Larry Small, who proposed the gun sales.
The idea of law enforcement as gun sellers has raised some eyebrows. The Police Department objected, only to be overruled by the council, which in February voted 8 to 1 to direct the department to draw up the program it will consider this month. Lt. David Whitlock said the Police Department has been moving cautiously to address the many concerns the sales raise. “There’s all kinds of ancillary issues, one of which is the politics of being in the gun-selling business,” Whitlock said. “The other is not introducing another weapon into the community.” Jan Martin, the council member who voted against the sales, said the small amount of money they could bring in is outweighed by the risk that a gun sold by the city could one day be used for a crime. “I remember what some of those weapons were used for,” Martin said. “Just the idea of putting those weapons back on the street is unconscionable.”