Weber County, UT (ABC4) — Until recently, The Weber County Sheriff’s Office destroyed guns that were seized and forfeited. Now, after a unanimous vote by the Weber County commissioners, those guns will now be sold off at a local pawn shop.
“There’s currently no way to destroy them,” Lt. Curtis Jeffries told commissioners during this week’s meeting. He said that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives no longer melts/destroys guns for the sheriff’s office.
“They’re stacking up in our evidence locker right now which is part of the problem,” Lt. Jeffries stated. “We would like to get rid of those, so we have more room for evidence.”
Making room for new evidence at the sheriff’s office is just one reason county commissioners approved the new contract.
Commissioner Gage Froerer explained, “We were one of the first [counties] in the state to declare a second amendment sanctuary county, which we are now.” The commissioner continued, “Everybody in the county has a good desire that firearms are kept in the hands of legally abiding citizens.”
The contract with Hy & Mike’s Pawn of South Ogden is now in effect. Essentially, the pawn shop will sell guns for the sheriff’s office. However, not all guns that the sheriff’s office possesses will be sold. For example, guns used in serious crimes are not eligible for the program.
“The phone’s been ringing off the hook,” Hiram Barker said to ABC4. The phone rang again as he was telling ABC4 this, “a lot of people are really interested to see what’s out there. I would assume that there are some hard-to-find brands and calibers.” Barker said he believes this is good for both law enforcement and gun collectors.
Barker is the owner and manager of the shop. He told ABC4 that while the new contract was approved earlier this week, he still hasn’t received any guns from the sheriff’s office. He also stated that he doesn’t believe the county will hand over large numbers of guns at the same time.
Under the three-year contract with the county, Barker will have to sell the guns at fair market price (priced for used guns).
This kind of contract is not something totally new for the shop. The shop is federally licensed and insured to sell these guns, and already has similar contracts with other agencies in the Ogden area. Froerer told ABC4 this is part of the reason the commissioners were on board to approve the contract with the business.
“I hope that we can continue doing business for a long time,” Barker stated. “I think it’s a great thing.”
The shop will keep 20 percent of the sale of each firearm and the rest will go to the Weber County Sheriff’s Foundation. Barker added: “With this, they’re able to help with equipment costs, training costs, and any way I can help, I think that’s great.”