The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department is disposing of nearly 200 unwanted firearms while saving the taxpayers money at the same time.

On Tuesday, the Franklin County Commission approved an order to allow the sheriff’s department to enter into an agreement with Cedar Falls Tactical, LLC, based in Bonne Terre.

Sheriff Steve Pelton explained some of the firearms will be destroyed, others may be kept and others still could be traded in and the sheriff’s department will be given a credit on future purchases of equipment.

“This is something we do about once a year,” he said. “We have about 180 guns so far and we should have the total number in about a month or month and a half.”

Pelton added the gathering process is done by staffers in between other jobs, but with the commission order now in place it will speed up.

Acquired

The sheriff’s department comes into possession of firearms in a number of different ways.

Some are turned in by members of the public who desire to have the firearms destroyed, others are found to be abandoned without any known owner making a claim, and some are seized as they are used in the commission of a crime.

Under Missouri law, those weapons may not be returned to the owner, and the department has sought and received  an order from the Franklin County Circuit Court authorizing the sheriff to destroy or otherwise dispose of them.

There also are cases when the department comes into possession of firearms that were seized from a criminal defendant which were not used in the commission of a crime, where no one has filed a request within five years of the date of the criminal case.

Agreement

Not all of the firearms are destroyed and some have value or utility to the department or Cedar Falls Tactical.

Pelton explained the guns collected are usually shotguns or old hunting rifles. Many others have been modified or made illegal and dangerous by the former owners.

Some weapons may be kept and used by deputies, the others will be traded and eventually resold by the gun dealer.

The commission order states Cedar Falls has agreed to provide credit to the sheriff which can be used by the department to receive from Cedar Falls weapons or equipment that can be used by the department by essentially recycling those weapons either for the use of the department’s deputies or for credit for the purchase of weapons or equipment.

Another service, Gunbusters, is contracted to destroy weapons. Pelton said notification is then given to the individuals who specifically requested a firearm be destroyed.

By Monte Miller | Missourian