“The whole intent of the bill was to ensure confiscated guns are returned to their owners if they’re innocent of a crime,” said state Rep. Barbara Massey Reece, D-Menlo. “There are a lot of provisions … and some need to be clarified.”
The Floyd County Commission had planned to sell off a batch of seized and surplus weapons before July 1 so they could put the revenue in the local general fund.
They canceled the plan Tuesday, however, after County Attorney Tommy Manning said the law went into effect when it was signed by the governor on May 3.
“We’ll wait until it’s most advantageous to the county,” Commission Chairman Irwin Bagwell said.
Manning said a provision lets “municipal corporations” — cities — keep the money from their sales, but Senate Bill 350 makes no reference to counties.
“There is an argument that the proceeds could also go to counties,” he said. “I don’t think (the bill is) worded well.”
Reece said state Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome, reported the problem Tuesday to a legislative committee considering judicial issues.
There also are some concerns from district attorneys and sheriffs about a requirement to sell all the guns that can’t be returned. For instance, guns used to kill law enforcement officers are typically destroyed instead.
“Nothing can be passed until the session starts up in 2013, but certainly the committee will be working on improving the language,” Reece said.