Giving state police the ability to dispose of firearms

By Ashley Steeb
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS — State police could soon have procedure for returning or disposing of firearms confiscated for criminal reasons without further court order.

Senate Bill 191 passed the House on Wednesday, with a vote of 94-2.

Rep. Robert Cherry, R-Greenfield, discussed why it is important for state law enforcements have the ability to dispose of firearms. Photo by Ashley Steeb, TheStatehouseFile.com

State police would be required to hold onto the gun for 180 days and the agency must make attempts to return the item to the rightful owner.

However, if the attempts fail or if the owner’s convicting prevents them from owning a firearm, the state police can dispose of the weapons.

“Some of the guns are even rusty and no use,” said Rep. Robert Cherry, R-Greenfield, the bill’s House sponsor. “But if we could melt them down and destroy them or if they have value, sell the guns, then they can buy protective vests and/or ammunition for training with the money from them.”

Local law enforcement agencies already have the right to dispose firearms after 120 days of retention. The bill would give them an additional 60 days for attempts to return the weapon.

Lawmakers decided on 180 days because that is the normal retention rate for abandoned property.

One of the two opposing votes came from Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary.

“Granted this one is a bit different because it’s talking about destroying guns or getting guns back in the proper hands,” Brown said. “But, because of my disdain for us bringing up gun matters here in the state capitol all the time, I just wanted to be consistent and I vote against all matters dealing with guns.”

The bill now returns to the Senate where the House changes will be reviewed.

Ashley Steeb is a news reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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