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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

City Council votes to bar police from selling rifles

FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2017 file photo, sales clerk Tom Wallitner holds up a Mossberg 715T .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle during an auction at Johnny's Auction House in Rochester, Wash. The Spokane City Council voted to prohibit the police department from selling forfeited firearms, following an Associated Press investigation that found that more than a dozen guns sold by law enforcement agencies in Washington state ended up in new police investigations. (Elaine Thompson / AP)

The Spokane Police Department will no longer be able to sell the guns it confiscates after the Spokane City Council approved a new law requiring the department to destroy guns instead of auctioning them.

Councilwoman Candance Mumm, said police should be focusing on preventing crime and not generating revenue from confiscated fire arms sales. Citing an Associated Press investigation from earlier this year, she said many of the guns police have sold across the state have ended up as evidence in new crimes.

Mumm added that once staff time, auction and state fees are accounted for, the city is likely making very little money from firearm sales. According to city documents, the city receives about $8,400 annually selling guns.

The Spokane Police Department has 56 guns pending auction and has sold 311 rifles in the last seven years, three of which were assault weapons. The City has already barred police from selling handguns and the police have destroyed 1,245 handguns or illegal firearms since 2011.

All other guns are sold to authorized dealers through a Post Falls auction company. Police spokeswomanTeresa Fuller said many of the guns the department sells are confiscated from felons, who are not allowed to own guns. She said guns used in homicide are not sold and any potential fire arm sales are monitored by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Several community members spoke out against the new ordinance during the meeting, saying that destroying firearms would likely not end gun violence. The ordinance passed six to one, with councilmember Mike Fagan voting against.

Antique weapons and guns that have been modified or are unique in some other way are exempt from the ordinance and altered weapons may be used in police training.