Using a controversial practice that the International Association of Chiefs of Police says should end, the Springfield, Ohio, Police Department soon will ship out 350 guns seized from criminals or turned in to the department over the decades to a federally licensed firearms dealer, who will then sell them to buyers who pass the appropriate background checks, reports the Columbus Dispatch.
The guns' serial numbers have been run through local and federal databases and didn't check out as being used in any crime on record. Test-fired bullets match no ballistics in unsolved cases. In exchange for the cache, the police department will be given credit to buy 40 new Remington 870 shotguns to equip officers. Chief Stephen Moody says the decision to swap the guns wasn't an easy one. “I really needed to weigh this. It's a moral dilemma,” said Moody, chief since 2003. He said that, ultimately, it is his responsibility to manage 120 officers and a $13.5 million annual operating budget as efficiently as he can. Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly, whose county includes Springfield, thinks otherwise. He calls the trading reprehensible. “Wouldn't it be a travesty or a tragedy if one of those weapons is eventually used to kill a law-enforcement officer or an innocent citizen?” he asks.