CHARLESTON, W.Va. – State Treasurer Riley Moore today announced his Office raised a record total of more than $141,000 for several state and local law enforcement agencies during an unclaimed property firearms auction conducted Thursday, March 16, in Charleston.
The event raised $141,320 to benefit the 15 law enforcement agencies that participated in the auction, which raises funds by selling outdated, unclaimed or old firearms, ammunition and related accessories in police inventory to qualified bidders.
“The men and women in our state’s law enforcement work hard to keep our communities across West Virginia a safe place to live and raise a family,” Treasurer Moore said. “I’m proud my Office partners with state and local law enforcement agencies to help turn unused firearms into funds that they can use to invest in updated equipment, training programs and facilities.”
The State Treasurer’s Office has conducted nine firearm auctions since 2014. This year’s event raised a record amount of funds due to having its largest inventory up for bid – approximately 600 firearms lots and 47 accessories and ammunition lots available at the auction.
Under West Virginia’s Unclaimed Property Code (Chapter 36, Article 8A), state and local law enforcement agencies are allowed to turn over any unclaimed, seized or outdated firearms in their possession to the State Treasurer’s Office for auction.
These include weapons that are older and no longer used by a department, or that have been seized as evidence and sitting in storage rooms for an extended amount of time following the disposition of a case. They can also include weapons taken from individuals who are not legally allowed to own firearms.
Once law enforcement certifies they cannot find a lawful owner of the firearms, they can be turned over to the Treasurer’s Office for auction.
The proceeds from the auction can then be returned to the submitting agency for use.
There were 55 federally licensed firearms dealers from 11 states registered to bid for this auction, including West Virginia, Kansas, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arizona, New Jersey and North Carolina. To participate, bidders must be a valid, licensed federal firearms dealer – the event is not open to the general public.
The participating law enforcement agencies included:
- Beckley Police Department
- Harrison County Sheriff’s Office
- Huntington Police Department
- Jackson County Sheriff’s Office
- Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office
- Parkersburg Police Department
- Pocahontas County Sheriff’s Office
- Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department
- South Charleston Police Department
- Westover Police Department
- West Virginia Division of Natural Resources – Farmington detachment
- West Virginia State Police – Bridgeport, Buckhannon, Charles Town and Parsons detachments