INDIANAPOLIS | A proposal forcing Gary and other Indiana cities to end their gun buy-back programs was approved 6-2 Wednesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Senate Bill 229, which now goes to the full Senate, prohibits local governments and their police departments from conducting gun buy-back events intended to reduce the number of guns circulating in a community.
The sponsor of the measure, state Sen. Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville, said he can't understand why police would want to destroy guns, when most guns police obtain or seize have significant value and could be resold.
Under the legislation, police only would be permitted to destroy a gun if the weapon's serial number has been obliterated. All other guns obtained by police would have to be sold to a firearms dealer or through an auction.
Proceeds from the sale of those guns then could be spent to purchase more police guns, ammunition or bulletproof vests. Current law requires gun sale funds be spent only on police training.
"I don't see why anyone would object to this because it benefits everyone involved," Tomes said.
State Sen. Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago, voted for the proposal and asked Tomes to add him as a co-sponsor of the measure.
Gary has removed hundreds of guns from its streets in the past five years through buy-back programs that offer store gift cards in exchange for guns, with no questions asked.
Police Chief Wade Ingram has said the gun buy-back events have made Gary a safer city.