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Opinion: Texas Cops Now Gun Dealers

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Law enforcement officers across the nation are in charge of keeping citizens safe from violent acts in their town or city. Now, law enforcement departments in the state of Texas are able to sell any confiscated firearms to gun shop owners across the state. Not only could this lead to a corrupt police department, but it is not a smart move by the state legislature.

Back in June, the Texas House of Representatives passed a bill that permits police officers to sell confiscated firearms to licensed dealers. They are also allowed to sell firearms that are left unclaimed after non-prosecuted cases or cases that did not end in a conviction. If a case does result in a conviction, the police department must keep the firearm as evidence in case of an appeal.

Large cities in Texas, such as Austin and San Antonio, have denied participation. However, the small rural towns in Texas may rely on this law for fiscal purposes. The selling of firearms is considered income to the small town police departments. Some portion of the proceeds will cover auction or outstanding court fees. The rest of the proceeds will go directly to the police department that seized the weapons. The law will go into effect on Sept. 1.

Granted, there is a large fiscal benefit to this law. But there is a large safety risk. Gang members and other criminals often legally purchase their firearms. Because not all firearm shops run background checks, these criminals are able to retrieve their weapons that were just seized. It really will not stop the crime ring. Although a majority of the police departments that will be using this law are in rural areas, it does not mean that gun violence will end. Gang members and other criminals will make the trek to these small towns to purchase firearms.

Also, this is Texas. There is nowhere near as much gang activity in the small, rural towns of Texas compared to L.A. or Chicago. This law is a bit pointless, especially if it is only small towns that will rely on this law to make some extra income. If this law was in place and mandatory for big cities, there would be a huge security risk. Large cities are where most gangs thrive. If it was applied to big cities, the police department may as well stop firearm seizures all together.

This law could be considered a preliminary step in gun control, or it could be the worst idea the Texas legislature has created. Time will tell if this law was the right decision.

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