Skip to main content

What happens to all those guns police take off the streets?

Minneapolis police have seized 40 guns this month alone.

The Minneapolis Police Department has recovered a lot of guns this month. 

In a Facebook post Monday, the agency said it has taken 40 guns off the streets since Oct. 1. 

Most of these guns were stolen, used in a crime, or were in the possession of someone who is prohibited from having a gun. And many were found during traffic stops or suspicious vehicle stops, the post said. 

The 40 guns recovered so far this month brings the total number of firearms seized this year to 773 – that's more than a 50 percent increase on the number recovered last year at this time. 

So what happens to all these guns? 

If they were stolen, they're returned to the rightful owner. Otherwise they're destroyed, per city code, the police department said in a comment on Facebook.

According to a 2015 story by the Star Tribune, the St. Paul, Bemidji and Kenyon police departments, as well as the sheriff's offices in Hennepin, Ramsey and Dakota counties, and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, all either destroy confiscated guns or keep them for department use (such as training and forensics – not as a service weapon). 

Other agencies, though, sell the guns to federally licensed gun dealers to make some extra cash, which is allowed under Minnesota law.

Of all the property used during a crime that was seized by Minnesota law enforcement agencies in 2016, 11 percent were firearms, the most recent Criminal Forfeitures in Minnesota report said.

The firearms that were confiscated and sold that year by Minnesota agencies amounted to $55,566 in gross sales. (So that doesn't count anything seized and then sold by the federal government in Minnesota.)

In 2015, the gross sales totaled $59,415, the report shows. 

That's quite a bit of money, but there's been a lot of debate in recent years over whether law enforcement agencies should sell these guns. Especially in the wake of the 2015 shooting at a New Hope City Council meeting. 

The shooter had illegally acquired guns that had been confiscated and then sold by the Duluth Police Department

After that incident, the police department said it had suspended selling guns "until our department develops sound strategies in keeping firearms from individuals who are ineligible to lawfully possess them," CNN Money reported

The Duluth Police Department told GoMN it no longer auctions off seized firearms. They're now sent to a contractor and destroyed.

Next Up

image

Animal Humane Society plans trailblazing new campus

Take a look inside the plans for a first-of-its-kind adoption center and animal care campus.

syphilis

Minnesota reports 'concerning level' of syphilis cases

The Minnesota Department of Health says most of the cases are being discovered in the northern part of the state.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Airport police intercept 5,600 fentanyl pills headed to St. Cloud

Three were arrested following a police raid in St. Cloud.

covid

Minnesota switches to weekly COVID updates

The weekly updates will be provided on Thursdays.

Screen Shot 2022-06-29 at 12.22.08 PM

Man shot inside Oakdale movie theater expected to survive

The 23-year-old victim underwent surgery and is recovering at the hospital.

monkeypox

Minnesota confirms second case of monkeypox virus

More cases are expected in the coming days and weeks, the health department says.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, June 29

One of the newly reported deaths was a person aged 15-19 from Yellow Medicine County.

Screen Shot 2022-06-29 at 10.19.37 AM

Drone drops bag of candy near kids fishing

A black SUV quickly left the area afterwards.

FLickr - AL Franken 2016 - Lorie Shaull

Al Franken to bring comedy tour to Minneapolis

Acme Comedy is hosting the former senator in late August.

Alabama

Alabama replaces Toby Keith as headliner at MN music festival

The Lakefront Music Festival is set to take place in Prior Lake on July 8-9.

Related

Screen Shot 2021-01-02 at 7.36.09 PM

Search warrant: Police suspected Dolal Idd of having, selling guns

Minneapolis police fatally shot 23-year-old Dolal Idd outside a gas station on Dec. 30, 2020.

st. paul guns 1

Charges: Teen tried to pull 2 guns on St. Paul officers during arrest

Police are asking for help in reducing the number of illegal guns on city streets.

police lights

Charges: 3 men used guns in separate carjackings in the Twin Cities

There has been a spike in carjackings in Minneapolis this year.

traffic stop

MN driver's manual now says what to do when you're pulled over and have a gun

The change comes four years after Philando Castile was fatally shot by police during a traffic stop in which he was legally carrying a gun.

St. Paul gun rights rally

'What happened to you?': Gun owners' group leader criticized over Amir Locke support

The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus released a statement criticizing MPD over the killing.

Police: Suspect threatens man in a street sweeper, leads police on high-speed chase

Despite all four tires being popped, the suspect kept driving.