Disposition of Firearms in State or Local Custody Act Exposed

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The Disposition of Firearms in State or Local Custody Act was considered by ALEC's Public Safety and Elections Task Force at the 2011 Annual Meeting on August 4, 2011. This bill was part of the ALEC task force agenda between 2010 and 2012, but due to incomplete information, it is not known if the bill passed in a vote by legislators and lobbyists at ALEC task force meetings, if ALEC sought to distance itself from the bill as the public increased scrutiny of its pay-to-play activities, or if key operative language from the bill has been introduced by an ALEC legislator in a state legislature in the ensuing period or became binding law.

ALEC Draft Bill Text


This Act requires firearms held in state or local custody to be auctioned off to licensed firearm dealers or manufacturers. In addition, they may destroy or dispose of firearms deemed unsafe for use.


{Title, enacting clause, etc.}

Section 1. {Title}

This Act may be cited as the “Disposition of Firearms in State or Local Custody Act.”

Section 2. {Definition of Firearm}

(A) [Citation to state code's broadest definition of "firearm"; if state law generally excludes muzzleloaders or antique firearms from the definition of "firearm", create a more inclusive definition for purposes of this section.]

Section 3. {Disposal of Firearms}

(A) Notwithstanding [citation to any other relevant law governing disposition of forfeited property by the state or its political subdivisions], and subject to the duty to return firearms to innocent owners pursuant to [section on forfeiture; amend that section if necessary to require the return of firearms to innocent owners], all firearms that are forfeited or abandoned to any law enforcement agency of this state or a political subdivision of this state, including the State Department of Game and Inland Fisheries [or equivalent], or that are otherwise acquired by the state or a political subdivision of the state and are no longer needed, shall be disposed of as provided in this section.

(B) Prior to the disposal of any firearm that has been forfeited or abandoned to the state or a political subdivision of the state, the agency with custody of the firearm shall use their best efforts to determine if the firearm has been lost by, stolen, or otherwise unlawfully obtained from an innocent owner, and if so, shall return the firearm to it innocent owner, if ascertainable, unless that person is ineligible to receive or possess a firearm under state or federal law.

(C) Except as provided in subsection (B) or (D), the agency shall dispose of the firearms that it receives under subsection (A) by sale at public auction to persons licensed as firearms collectors, dealers, importers, or manufacturers under the provisions of 18 U.S.C. §§ 921 et seq. [and citation to state law requiring licensing of firearm dealers, if any] and authorized to receive such firearms under the terms of such license.

(1) The auctions required by this subsection may occur online on a rolling basis or at live events but in no event shall occur less frequently than once every six months during any time the agency has an inventory of saleable firearms.
(2) The agency shall retain only such proceeds as are necessary to cover the costs of administering this section, with any surplus to be transferred to the general fund of the jurisdiction in which the agency is located, provided that an agency may be reimbursed for any firearms formerly in use by the agency that are sold under this section.
(3) Employees of the agency shall not be eligible to bid on the firearms at an auction conducted under this section, and except for the costs of administration authorized under subdivision (2) of this subsection, neither the agency nor its employees may retain any proceeds from any sale required by this section, nor may the agency or its employees retain any firearm required to be sold under this section.

(D) The requirements of subsection (C) shall not apply to a firearm if no bids from eligible recipients are received within six months from when bidding opened on the item or that the chief of police, agency director, or designee of such official certifies is unsafe for use because of wear, damage, age, or modification. Any such firearm shall at the discretion of the chief of police, agency director, or designee of such official be transferred to the state crime laboratory [or equivalent] for training or experimental purposes or to a museum or historical society that displays such items to the public and is lawfully eligible to receive the item or be destroyed.

(E) All agencies subject to the provisions of this section shall keep records of the firearms acquired and disposed of as herein provided, as well as the proceeds of the sales thereof and the disbursement of such proceeds, and shall maintain these records for not less than ten (10) years from the date on which a firearm is disposed of or on which a disbursement of funds is made, as the case may be.

(F) Neither the state nor any political subdivision of the state, nor any of their officers, agents, and employees, shall be liable to any person, including the purchaser of a firearm, for personal injuries or damage to property arising from the sale of a firearm under subsection (C) of this section, unless the state or political subdivision acted with gross negligence or recklessness.

Section 4. {Severability Clause}

Section 5. {Repealer Clause}

Section 6. {Effective Date}