Mike Gatto Introduces Legislation to Prevent Evidence Destruction at Gun Buy-Back Programs

By On August 18, 2014

What is the quickest way to get rid of a murder weapon?  Unfortunately, in some cities, it is turning it over to the police department and getting paid to do so.  At some of these “no questions asked” gun “buy-backs,” the police will even melt the weapon down in front of you.  Assemblyman Mike Gatto introduced legislation, AB 2662, to ensure that evidence surrendered to the police at gun buy-back programs is properly tested and identified.  The legislation would prohibit agencies from administering handgun buy-backs without conducting basic tests.

“We have carefully crafted this bill to provide law enforcement with flexibility, but to also make sure that common-sense testing occurs on certain handguns that are turned in,” said Gatto.

During buy-backs, criminals looking to permanently destroy guns used in a crime, and any evidence they might contain, may anonymously surrender the weapon with no questions asked.  In many circumstances they may even get paid, as many buy-back programs offer generous gift cards and other incentives.  Gatto’s legislation would specifically prohibit agencies that administer gun buy-back programs from destroying any functioning, non-antique handgun until either a Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco (ATF) tracing or ballistics test has been completed on the weapon and the results catalogued.

“Turning in a weapon at a police station should not be the best way to ensure that a weapon is destroyed, with no questions asked,” said Assemblyman Gatto.  “California should join the other jurisdictions that at least seek to identify if handguns turned in are either stolen or murder weapons.”