Michigan Police Destroy Thousands of Legal Firearms Annually

By Dean Weingarten

Michigan state Police Firearms Destruction last page 1 June 2016
Michigan state Police Firearms Destruction last page 1 June 2016
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

USA –  -(Ammoland.com)- Under Michigan law, the Michigan State Police (MSP) are required to publish a list of the firearms that they intend to dispose of each month.  Agencies in Michigan are required to turn over to the State Police firearms that have been forfeited or confiscated from prohibited possessors.

The firearms are checked to see if they have been reported stolen.  If they have not been reported stolen, the MSP are required to dispose of them.  Before they are disposed of, the list of firearms has to be published each month.  Owners of the firearms are given 30 days to contact the police to recover their property.

I doubt if many do so; if they have not been listed as stolen, the chances of the owner checking the State Police list each month to determine if their firearm shows up seems vanishingly small.

The MSP have the choice to dispose of the firearms by sale or to destroy them.  They have been choosing to destroy them, likely for political reasons and because of bureaucratic inertia. It is hard to see why they would avoid selling them at auction.

There are 298 firearms listed to be destroyed after June 1, 2016 (pdf).  Many are inexpensive.  Many are not.  They run the gamut from a Webley and Scott 12 gauge shotgun to a Butler .22.  The Webley and Scott Shotgun is potentially worth thousands; the Butler .22, maybe $50.  Most of them are pistols, 225 of them. There are 39 shotguns and 34 rifles. The list is changed each month.

At auction, confiscated firearms average between $100 and $200 to dealers.  It is likely that the Michigan public treasury would gain about $150 per firearm, or about $44,700 for the firearms to be destroyed in the month of June.  It is unknown how much the police have to pay to have the firearms destroyed; no doubt they require a paper trail to be sure that none are diverted prior to destruction.  That cost would roughly cancel out the cost of having the firearms auctioned.

The police do not have to have the firearms destroyed.  They run no risk of liability if they auction off the firearms. Under Michigan law, they are immune from liability for the disposal of the firearms. From the relevant Michigan code 750.239:

 750.239 Forfeiture of weapons; disposal; immunity from civil liability.
Sec. 239.
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) and subject to section 239a, all pistols, weapons, or devices carried, possessed, or used contrary to this chapter are forfeited to the state and shall be turned over to the department of state police for disposition as determined appropriate by the director of the department of state police or his or her designated representative.

(2) The director of the department of state police shall dispose of firearms under this section by 1 of the following methods:

(a) By conducting a public auction in which firearms received under this section may be purchased at a sale conducted in compliance with section 4708 of the revised judicature act of 1961, 1961 PA 236, MCL 600.4708, by individuals authorized by law to possess those firearms.

(b) By destroying them.

(c) By any other lawful manner prescribed by the director of the department of state police.

(3) Before disposing of a firearm under this section, the director of the department of state police shall do both of the following:

(a) Determine through the law enforcement information network whether the firearm has been reported lost or stolen. If the firearm has been reported lost or stolen and the name and address of the owner can be determined, the director of the department of state police shall provide 30 days' written notice of his or her intent to dispose of the firearm under this section to the owner, and allow the owner to claim the firearm within that 30-day period if he or she is authorized to possess the firearm.

(b) Provide 30 days' notice to the public on the department of state police website of his or her intent to dispose of the firearm under this section. The notice shall include a description of the firearm and shall state the firearm's serial number, if the serial number can be determined. The department of state police shall allow the owner of the firearm to claim the firearm within that 30-day period if he or she is authorized to possess the firearm. The 30-day period required under this subdivision is in addition to the 30-day period required under subdivision (a).

(4) The department of state police is immune from civil liability for disposing of a firearm in compliance with this section.

The laws were originally written during the progressive era, at about the same time that registration of pistols was required and short barrelled shotguns and rifles were made illegal.  The laws were modified in 2010.  Disposal requirements are essentially the same under 750.239  (1931) and 28.434  (1927).

So why do the Michigan State Police destroy tens of thousands of dollars worth of firearms each month, perhaps as much as half a million dollars each year?

South Africa continues to remove and destroy 'unlicensed firearms'
Michigan Police Destroy Thousands of Legal Firearms Annually

I was able to talk to a source at the MSP. A number of agencies in the state are selling the firearms that they wish to dispose of, and using the money to buy new equipment.  A majority of the firearms received by the MSP are in poor shape.   The numbers received each month vary considerably, and are not predictable.  As many as 1500 have been received in one month.  At least one high dollar collectable firearm, worth five to ten thousands dollars, was taken taken off the destruction list.  Numerous WWII “bring back” guns such as P38 and Luger pistols are destroyed.

Almost no firearms are returned to owners once they are on the list.  As expected, the firearms should be checked by the agency that collected them. Occasionally, a mistake is made, and a firearm that was stolen ends up at the MSP.  The original agency is contacted to determine what the disposal action should be.  If there is a legal question, the firearm is sent back to the original agency.  The MSP do not return firearms; they have the original agency handle that.

Some time in the past, an attempt was made to research an auction system, but was quietly quashed by someone in the higher echelons of the bureaucracy or political structure.

The procedure to destroy the firearms is at least from the 1950s, if not older, so there is considerable bureaucratic inertia to continue doing what they have always done.

The procedure is unlikely to change unless change is imposed on the MSP from without.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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  • 26 thoughts on “Michigan Police Destroy Thousands of Legal Firearms Annually

    1. Errrg I’ll bet the firearm manufacturers lobbyists down want anyone cutting in on their turf.

    2. Just a thought,…. The guns themselves did nothing illegal. It was the people they
      were taken from that may have done something illegal with them.

      1. A lot of people just turn them in to because maybe their elderly spouse dies and they want nothing to do with them. I’ve personally received free guns that way.

    3. Seems waste isn’t anathema to Michigan government. I wonder if Snyder approves of this or just tolerates it.

      1. He doesn’t want the liability and cost involved in redistribution. He also doesn’t want to be taking money away from his puppet masters profits. Like all the GOP they rather hang the tax burden on we the people . It’s just another form of corporate welfare for the GOP crime family.

    4. They only do that after every police force in the state picks out what they want in there closet

    5. The police departments should obtain a license to sell retail from BATF&E and just sell the guns outright.

      The funds raised could pay for so many things that the PD needs.

      1. A retail License? What- so they even more reason to steal from us and profit in it? F That – Police have out lived their usefulness.

    6. Just like Illinois, don’t have the money to run the state , but pass up ways to make money because of liberal bias!!! DUMB SOB’s!!

      1. UMMM… Michigan is run by ultra conservative republicans, I be careful who you call a dumb sob.

        1. Maybe right now it is but the VAST majority of these laws were enacted by our fr-enemies in the democrat party. The same legislature you speak of has overturning gun laws left and right since taking power.
          They just haven’t have enough time to work their way into the LEFTIST bureaucracy just yet!
          IF they ever do hopefully this destruction will stop!!

    7. Looks like some pretty decent firearms that these morons are destroying ! I’m sure the MSP kept some of the higher end guns for the themselves.

    8. They can just send all those guns my way, I am willing to dispose of them. Always happy to help.

    9. Michigan citizens have turned into a bunch of pathetic and complacent butt puppets!

      1. Yep that what you turn into when you dine and the GOP BS buffet! Michigan now has a chain of command for all their puppets and it leads right to David Koch and the ALEC shadow government.

    10. This is actually a good law suit waiting to happen…. ANY concerned tax payer could sue to have MSP not destroy these firearms – it is willful destruction of Tax Payer Property and it is Fraud Waste and Abuse of Tax Payer Assets because the funds could and should be used for Gear & Equipment that IS costing Tax Payers money. All other regular seizure items are auctioned off and funds shifted to budgets and shared between agencies…. ie Seized Cars, Boats, Houses, etc are all disposed thru the District and State Attorneys back to the agencies which in turn allows them to sell or auction the items. This is a very win-able case with precedent in AZ and a few other places I believe. I personally have worked with Sheriff’s Departments as a Dealer that I would take in Firearms and sell them and the Department would receive a Gear, Equipment, and Uniform Credit that would get used for line items that had not been budgeted for or where needed that had not been budgeted for saving the Counties – large sums of money ($10,00+ in credit to one County Sheriff alone).
      It is a waste and abuse of money that literally being thrown away by the State and Local Agencies…. should not be tolerated and should be challenged from that perspective not even because its firearms.

        1. Your wrong nowhere does it say the state or federal government or it’s workers are immune from liability or persecution. And you should look up the definition of Eminent domain.

    11. What a waste of potential income for the law enforcement agencies. If they auctioned them off, maybe they could stop confiscating property from persons suspected, but often not arrested and seldom convicted, of crimes during traffic stops or other minor incidents.

      BTW, I would be interested in any of the shotguns – well, maybe not the one from Western Auto.

      1. Western Auto guns were produced by reputable name brand manufacturers, such as O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Remington Arms, Savage Arms, Winchester Repeating Arms Company and High Standard Manufacturing Company. Western Auto firearms sold under the “Revelation” brand name, and were generally models from the brands Savage, Marlin Firearms, or Mossberg.

    12. Mmmmm…I see some Kimbers in there. My missing Norinco I don’t see, but I’d take another Kimber instead.
      kimber pistol .45 kr157695
      kimber pistol .45 k160328
      kimber pistol .45 k297096
      kimber pistol .45 ku52667
      kimber pistol.45 ku36008

      (Just in case someone does a web search looking for their missing gun).

      Anyone lose a Mak?
      makarov pistol 9mm nk252303

    13. So these are the “On Our Side” / “Oath Keeper Constitutional Police” that everyone keeps putting on a pedestal.

      Keep on believing.

      1. And you know a lot of those “destroyed” firearms grew legs and walked out of the evidence room days or weeks before they appeared on that list.

    14. Why don’t they auction or sell outright any that are not reported stolen, and use the money for some charitable purpose? What a waste.

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