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Flint opts to destroy confiscated guns, rather than auction off and risk re-circulation

Previously, confiscated guns were sold at auction to create revenue for Flint; but, the City said money made is not worth the risk.
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 5:54 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (7/29/2020) - 250 guns confiscated by Flint police officers will now be destroyed. The Mayor and Police Chief announced the new plan Wednesday.

Previously, confiscated guns were sold at auction to create revenue for Flint; but, the City said money made is not worth the risk.

At Wednesday’s pres conference, Mayor Sheldon Neeley made it clear he is not anti-gun. He said this effort is about keeping guns out of the wrong people’s hands to prevent more violence in this City.

“This gives us hope. Those of us who have lost loved ones, this gives us hope,” Flint Pastor Jeff Hawkins said. “To say, you know what, it doesn’t do anything for the loved ones that we’ve lost due to violence, it sure enough gives us a brighter future that no one else has to be lost.”

Two of Pastor Hawkins's sons have died of gun violence – one shot by an AK-47, the other shot by a semi-automatic gun.

He's grateful similar combat weapons will not only be confiscated by Flint Police, but now also destroyed by the City.

The Mayor and Police Chief showed off guns of all sizes and caliber. The two said 32 guns were taken out of the community in the last seven days alone.

What Chief Phil Hart calls his new 'special investigative unit,' has been targeting hot spot areas of the City.

“Everything has to be based on a legal traffic stop,” Chief Hart explained. “We’re making traffic stops on these reckless drivers, where we are seizing vehicles as well and we’re finding these weapons.”

The Chief said a number of the illegal guns are actually brand new, which has him working with federal and state partners to investigate who's making the sale.

Mayor Neeley said in the past, the City has sold the confiscated guns to supplement the general fund. He explained Flint made $200,000 in 2019 from auctioning off more than 1,200 guns.

“It shows a gross lack in critical thinking when we say we want to fight crime and battle crime and take weapons off the street to somehow circulating – or being a chain of circulating them back into activity,” the Mayor said. “From this day forward, we will destroy weapons that we collect.”

The Mayor is also planning a gun buyback program to get guns off the street.

No dates have been set. Mayor Neeley explained he’s working to raise money to make it work, adding he and his family will be donating the first thousand dollars.

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