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Cities push to destroy seized guns — even in states where it’s prohibited

by Maxim Lott |  |  Published on December 22, 2016

When police seize a gun that was owned illegally, should they destroy it or auction it off?

Some cities around the country would like to destroy them, but can’t because more than a dozen states have passed laws forcing city governments to put the guns up for auction.

Gun rights advocates helped get the state laws passed, arguing that destroying old guns is wasteful. But officials in cities like Tucson, Ariz., and Savannah, Ga., are pushing back against those laws, saying they need to destroy the guns to prevent more violence.

Tucson has destroyed nearly 5,000 seized guns since 2013, despite a law that, the state government claims, bans doing so. After the state threatened legal action, the city voted this month to stop destroying guns while it challenges the law in court.

In Savannah, city council members have launched an effort to get permission from the state to destroy guns, rather than sell them.

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