There's a nationwide debate in the law enforcement community about what to do with guns seized during criminal investigations. Local police and sheriff's departments in several states hold auctions, where firearms seized during crimes are sold back to the public. But a recent study conducted by the Associated Press found that at least a dozen of those resold guns in Washington state ended up as part of new crime investigations. The International Association of Chiefs of Police is against the reselling of confiscated guns, saying it "increases the availability of firearms which could be used again to kill or injure additional police officers and citizens."
Houston Police agree with that sentiment, as they do not resell confiscated firearms. "If the charge is upheld, and if the gun is legally seized, then eventually that gun will be disposed of once the statute of limitations has run out," says Joe Gamaldi, president of the Houston Police Officers Union. "We just wouldn't want something to happen, where someone purchases a gun and it's used in a crime, and maybe that gun wouldn't have been on the street if we hadn't sold it back to the public."
Texas law does not prohibit the reselling of confiscated firearms, but the decision is left up to local departments.
The HPD's policy is not surprising, considering Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo has been a proponent of tightening restrictions on guns to ensure they don't fall into the wrong hands. But the Harris County Sheriff's Office also has a no resell policy. "Once the case is disposed of, (the gun) will either be given back by court order to the complainant or the rightful owner, or it is set for destruction," says David Cuevas, president of the Harris County Deputies Organization. "The unintended consequence (of reselling the gun) would be that firearm would be used for illicit behavior, and that is not a good idea."