Georgia Gun Law Under Fire

A May 2012 Georgia gun law is now drawing fire from the anti-gun establishment. At issue is an obscure provision in the Official Code of Georgia relating to forfeiture of weapons used in armed robbery or burglaries. If the gun can be traced back to an innocent owner, the law provides it may be returned to that owner. But only if the owner pays for a new background check, shipping costs, and transfer fees. If the innocent owner does not claim the weapon within six months or if the owner cannot be found, the local government has the authority to sell the firearm to a licensed firearms dealer. This is the part of the law that is drawing fire.

To Sell or Not to Sell – That is the Question

Opponents of the law say it makes no sense to put another weapon back on street. State Senator Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) has come out publicly against the law, stating in an interview with WXIA in Atlanta,”I think guns off the street is a good thing. Let’s leave them off the street.”

She is not alone in her opinion.

Three other State Senators, Lester Jackson (D-Savannah), Ed Harbison (D-Columbus), and Gail Davenport (D-Jonesboro) have co-sponsored SB-84 for the upcoming legislative session to amend the current law to give law enforcement agencies the option to destroy confiscated weapons rather than sell them.

Sen. Parent went on to add, “I think it’s insane. The law that requires police departments to sell weapons confiscated as part of crimes back into the public, I think, makes no sense whatsoever.”

Atlanta Police Chief George Turner refuses to auction off any of the more than 2,000 firearms it seizes on average every year, despite the current law’s obligation. Chief Turner told a CBS46 reporter that it would be catastrophic to put those firearms back on the streets of Atlanta.

The Chief is taking advantage of the fact that the law includes no penalties for non-compliance.

It’s Not the Gun’s Fault

Others disagree with Sen. Parent and the proposed bill. They argue the current law requires the firearms to be auctioned off only to licensed dealers or returned to the innocent owner, but only after another background check is completed before the transfer.

Another fact other mention is selling the weapons is a good way to supplement treasuries with the proceeds from the sales. The profits help reduce the burden on taxpayers. Atlanta, for example, can generate a lot of money if it were to sell the thousands of firearms it currently has stored in its property room.

Should local agencies allow perfectly good firearms to be destroyed rather than sell them to licensed dealers, who in turn, would sell them to law-abiding citizens after background checks are completed?

What are your thoughts? We’d like to hear from you.

Knowledge is Power

To stay up-to-date on this law or any other law in your state regarding firearms and self-defense, attend a U.S. LawShield sponsored seminar and hear directly from Independent Program Attorneys from your state. To find an event and register, call (877)448-6839 or click here.