U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)-– As part of the wave of gun legislation reforms sweeping the country since the 1980s, the Kentucky legislature required forfeited guns to be sold at auction to Federal Firearms License holders. The legislation was created in Kentucky in 1998. Guns that were stolen, and can be identified, are returned to their legal owners.
This was to prevent the destruction of valuable assets for no purpose. In addition, the sale of the assets would accrue to the benefit of the police, which gained support for the legislation.
The Kentucky State Police have been tasked by the Kentucky General Assembly to administer the sale of forfeited guns. In 2020, the Kentucky State Police (KSP) started auctioning off collected guns as one large lot to one dealer. This is the easiest way to auction off the guns.
It limits the number of potential buyers to those with a Federal Firearms License and access to over a hundred thousand dollars, available as cash, for the guns. Here are terms as listed at the Kentucky State Police site:
KSP Firearms FFL Bidders: The Kentucky State Police will be conducting a closed, one bid auction online. The upcoming auction will contain approximately 600+/-guns as one lot. The firearms list will be posted on
the KSP public web site as well as a short video showing each firearm. Bids submitted will be for all guns listed/shown. A reasonable start bid will be established based on previous auctions and trends in the
market. Bids must be made in $5.00 increments.
All bids should be emailed to [email protected] . One bid per FFL holder will be accepted. The bids will be reviewed,and the winner notified by email. A bid submission is a binding contract between KSP and the winning bidder. This is strictly enforced. Any deviation from this could result in legal action. The winning bid amount will be posted on the KSP web site.
The proceeds from the gun sales go to procure body armor and other equipment for Kentucky law enforcement personnel.
Kentucky State Police retain 20% of what the auction brings in. The remainder goes to Kentucky Homeland Security under provisions of KRS 16.220.
After these firearms are sold to Federal Firearms License holders, they are sold to the public under the same restrictions as newly manufactured firearms.
Basic economics apply: At any given time, the demand for a product can be satisfied by a new product, product obtained on the used market, or a combination of both new and used products. It is also possible for consumers to be manufacturers and make their own products.
The more used firearms are sold, the more demand for new firearms is reduced. The practical effect of selling these firearms is to reduce the profit of firearms manufacturers while satisfying the demand created by those seeking legal firearms.
This correspondent sent an open records request for information about firearms auctions administered by the Kentucky State Police during the last decade. The auctions have been a tremendous success. They are held about six times a year.
The Kentucky State Police were responsive and cooperative. Here is what the numbers show. The most recent auction took place on July 5th, 2022, and is included in the calculations. In July, 1008 firearms were sold as a lot to the winner of the online auction, for $158,796.
Forty-eight thousand, seven hundred and fourteen guns have been sold in the last 10.5 years, or about 4600 per year.
The average price paid per auctioned firearm over the whole period was $182.80.
About 8.9 million dollars was generated to be used for body armor and other accessories for police officers over the last 10.5 years.
The average is about $848,000 per year for Kentucky police. 20% of the proceeds goes to the Kentucky State Police, or about $168,000 dollars per year, over the last 10.5 years.
Eighty percent goes to equip other police officers in Kentucky, or about $677K per year, over the last decade.
There are about 8 thousand sworn police officers in Kentucky. The amount available from the firearm sales, which might otherwise have been destroyed, is about $85 per year per officer. Police vests expire after three to five years, so it is enough to equip most officers with bullet-resistant vests.
Of the 1008 firearms sold in the last auction, a quick count revealed 55 shotguns and 79 rifles, with the rest being handguns. About 87 percent of the forfeited guns were handguns.
This is reasonably close to the percentages of firearms confiscated or forfeited in Chicago. In the Chicago report on tracing guns, from 2013 thru 2016, 90.2 percent of the firearms traced in Chicago were handguns. This ratio may be consistent nationwide.
Of murders committed with guns, about 92% are committed with handguns. This likely reflects a preference for concealable weapons by people who engage in extralegal violence.
Handguns have become the majority of firearms sold in the United States. In June of 2022, 1.76 handguns were sold for every long gun sold.
Sixteen thousand six firearms were confiscated/forfeited in Kentucky over the same four years covered in the Chicago report, which had 26,849 guns confiscated/forfeited.
Over the four years, Chicago collected, from confiscation or forfeiture, about 1 gun per 100 residents. Kentucky collected about 1 gun per 276 residents.
The sale of confiscated/forfeited firearms by the Kentucky State Police has been an unqualified success. Assets that would otherwise have been wasted are used to purchase police equipment.
The demand for new firearms is reduced, allowing manufacturing capacity to be used for other purposes.
Legal purchasers of firearms have a greater selection from which to choose.
It is a win-win situation for all involved.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.