Mayor Sheldon Neeley, Police Chief Phil Hart stop City of Flint gun auctions to keep firearms off streets

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FLINT, Michigan—Mayor Sheldon Neeley and Police Chief Phil Hart announced today that the City of Flint will no longer auction off illegal guns confiscated by the police department, opting instead to have the weapons destroyed.

The decision will immediately dispose of 250 guns that previously had been on Flint streets. The previous administration with support of Flint City Council began auctioning off seized firearms in 2017, selling hundreds of guns to the highest bidder. Included in the sales were semi-automatic rifles as well as handguns, pistols, and shotguns.

While gun auctions are legal and serve lawful gun buyers, Mayor Neeley said his administration will not permit the auctioning of firearms to ensure none of these deadly weapons again fall into the wrong hands.

“From Day 1, we put a priority on leading this city with a strong social conscience. Human life is always more valuable than dollars,” Mayor Neeley said. “Under this administration, we will never again line our pockets by selling guns. It is unconscionable that after seizing these illegal weapons that anyone would gamble by putting them back on the streets where they could again fall into the wrong hands.”

Last year, the City of Flint auctioned off more than 1,200 guns, which brought in more than $200,000 to the city’s general fund.

“It’s just not worth it,” Chief Hart said. “If we want to look at dollars and cents, we also have to look at the cost of gun violence in our community. It does not make sense for law enforcement to be in the business of selling weapons.”

According to a report released in September 2019 by the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, gun violence costs the United States $229 billion annually. In Michigan, gun violence costs $6.9 billion — $696 for every resident, according to the report. Based on that average, the cost of gun violence in the city of Flint is at least triple the revenues the gun auctions.

Instead of auctioning off the guns, the weapons will be turned over to the Michigan State Police for proper disposal.

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