Don’t Auction Off Weapons Responsible for Mass Carnage

Target: Dade Phelan, Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives

Goal: Stop willfully putting guns used in crimes back into vulnerable communities.

What if the AR-15-style rifle that allegedly took the lives of eight people at a Texas outlet mall found its way onto the streets again, ready to be deployed in fresh deadly crimes? Under the laws of 12 states, including several that were the sites of recent high-profile mass shootings, the guns used in these horrific crimes are not eventually destroyed as they are in most other states. Instead, they are put back into circulation…often by the very law enforcement that confiscated them.

An official in Kentucky, reeling from a Louisville bank mass casualty event, lamented how “that murder weapon will one day be back on the streets under Kentucky law.” In this state, all confiscated guns are auctioned off by the police department possessing the weapons, with the profits divided between the department and the Homeland Security Department. And in Arizona, guns that owners willingly turned over during a buyback program that took place in a police station parking lot were later sold off to parts unknown because the state legislature passed a new gun-friendly law in response to the buyback. Unsurprisingly, Texas—ground-zero for several mass fatalities—is among the 12 that prioritizes profiteering from murders over protecting citizens.

Sign the petition below to urge this state to finally begin addressing its gun violence epidemic by halting mandatory confiscated gun auctions and sales.


Dear Speaker Phelan,

Shoppers at an outlet mall, community-goers at Walmart, and innocent children in classrooms: the aforementioned are just a small sampling of the lives taken and the communities shattered by unchecked gun violence in Texas. And in one of the true outrages, the very weapons used to end these lives could be back in criminal hands at the direction of this government. Mandatory sell-offs of confiscated weapons have no place in a society grappling with an existential threat.

And the fact that these blood-stained instruments of murder live to see another day—with money gladly exchanging hands—is a slap in the face to every grieving family who cannot even expect the smallest measure of action (save a thought or a prayer) from their politicians. A Washington study bears out that confiscated guns later auctioned off or resold are disproportionately used in new crimes. At the least, follow Kentucky’s lead, remove the firing pins, and label these weapons as the instruments of crime they are.

Or, if you really want to affect meaningful change, abolish the law that allows these weapons that took lives a renewed life and a renewed opportunity for tragedy.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Blackhart

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