Wednesday, May 9, 2018 by Jack Craver

Council members: APD should not be allowed to sell guns

In 2016, City Council approved a contract that allowed the Austin Police Department to trade more than 1,700 handguns to an arms dealer as part of a deal to acquire new weapons for police officers.

Council Member Alison Alter doesn’t think it’s right for city guns to make their way back to the private market. On Thursday, Council will vote on a resolution she authored aimed at preventing APD from selling or trading its weapons to others. The resolution is co-sponsored by Mayor Steve Adler, Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo and Council members Leslie Pool, Ann Kitchen and Jimmy Flannigan.

“We did not want our Police Department to be contributing guns to the community,” she said during a Tuesday work session, describing her motivation for writing the resolution: “It was contributing to having more guns on the street.”

Council Member Jimmy Flannigan suggested amending the resolution to allow the city to sell its guns to other law enforcement agencies that agree not to resell them to private dealers. He liked the idea of police departments buying weapons from other public entities, rather than gun manufacturers.

However, Alter expressed skepticism, saying that it would be hard for the city to ensure that the law enforcement agencies buying the guns would stick to their promise not to sell or give them away to private dealers.

Council Member Leslie Pool concurred: “I would not support any dilution of this language that would open the door to us passing along (guns to the public),” she said.

APD Lieutenant Lee Rogers said that the department currently has more than 10,000 firearms in a warehouse waiting to be destroyed. The department contracts with a company to recycle the metal from the guns, he said.

Air Force photo by Margo Wright.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Austin City Council: The Austin City Council is the body with legislative purview over the City of Austin. It offers policy direction, while the office of the City Manager implements administrative actions based on those policies. Until 2012, the body contained seven members, including the city's Mayor, all elected at-large. In 2012, City of Austin residents voted to change that system and now 10 members of the Council are elected based on geographic districts. The Mayor continues to be elected at-large.

Austin Police Department: the law enforcement entity for the City of Austin.

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