Friday, December 5, 2014

Fredericksburg's Unique Way of Circumventing State Law

Yesterday VSSA posted on its Twitter feed and Facebook page this story about the Fredericksburg Police Department's "Gun Give Back" planned for December 13th.  Under state law, before a locality can engage in a compensated gun confiscation scheme (aka "gun buy back"), the locality must a): pass an ordinance allowing the specific event to take place and; b)such firearms acquired by the "buy back" must be offered for sale by public auction or sealed bids to a person licensed as a dealer before otherwise disposing of them, which may include destruction or sale to a dealer.

It seems that the Fredericksburg Police thinks it has found a unique loophole in the law by finding a benefactor to donate money to one of four charities.  You see, "buy backs" usually involve something of value (money, gift card etc.) being given to the owner of the firearm in exchange for turning in the gun.  In this case, the owner would not be given something but instead, a charity donation would be made by a benefactor identified as Dorris Buffet, thus, not triggering the second part of the legislation, or so the Fredericksburg Police must think:
The Fredericksburg Police Department will collect unwanted guns, no-questions-asked, Saturday, Dec. 13. Guns should be taken to the police headquarters, 2200 Cowan Boulevard, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The police department’s sponsor, Dorris Buffett, will donate $100 for every turned-in gun to one of four charities: Empower House, Cops and Kids (shop with a cop), Micah Ministries and the Thurman Brisben Homeless Shelter. Those surrendering their weapon can choose which charity their donation will benefit.

All guns turned in to police during this time will be destroyed. Fredericksburg Police can ensure that the firearms will never be used to commit a crime.
I'm not a lawyer but it could be argued that even though the owner of the firearm is not being given the $100, a donation to a charity could still be considered "something of value."  In a lot of cases, compensated confiscation schemes usually end up taking in a lot of firearms that are not functional or widows who don't know of a way to dispose of the firearms left by their deceased spouse.  They are turned in because of the allure of getting an easy $100 or so.  It appears that Fredericksburg has not passed an ordinance allowing this to take place and it most certainly is not following the law by planning to destroy the firearms.

The question is, how many people are going to be willing to participate if they aren't getting anything in their pocket in return.  VSSA has contacted the City Attorney regarding this matter and is awaiting a response.

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