LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A candidate for Louisville mayor who was shot at by an assailant in his campaign office is pledging to crack down on confiscated firearms that police send to auction.
Democrat Craig Greenberg said Wednesday that part of his plan to reduce violent crime would include directing Louisville police to render seized firearms inoperable before they go to auction. State law requires that confiscated guns be sent to Kentucky State Police for auction, and that the sale proceeds be used to buy equipment, like body armor, for police officers.
But Greenberg said many of the guns that go to auction end up on the streets and back in the hands of criminals. He called the practice “absurd and dangerous.” He said he believes the city can comply with the state law and still make the guns unusable, though he did not elaborate on how the guns would be altered to make them inoperable.
“We’re spending millions of taxpayer dollars to take illegal guns off the streets, to remove guns from the hands of criminals, or people seeking to do harm, and then there is a process in place where these guns end up back on the streets in different people’s hands,” Greenberg said in an interview Wednesday.
A spokeswoman for Greenberg’s Republican opponent, Bill Deiruf, did not reply to a message seeking comment on Wednesday.
Greenberg returned Wednesday to the building that housed his former campaign office. It was at that site in February that a man walked in with a gun and fired six shots at Greenberg. One of the bullets grazed the mayoral candidate’s sweater. No one was hurt and a city council candidate, Quintez Brown, was arrested and charged with attempted murder and wanton endangerment. Brown is also facing federal charges. The gun Brown allegedly used was bought at a pawn shop just hours before the shooting.
The confiscated guns — usually taken by police during arrests — are bought at the auctions by federally licensed gun dealers. An auction held last month totaled nearly $174,000, according to the Kentucky State Police website.
State Police Commissioner Phillip Burnett said in a letter to gun dealers posted on the website that the auctions “have been instrumental in equipping Kentucky law enforcement personnel with personal body armor and other equipment.”
A message sent to a state police spokesman on Wednesday was not returned.