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Commissioners consider ways to sell guns in police custody

July 24, 2014
WOLFEBORO — The Wolfeboro Police Commission grappled with how to best dispose of firearms in custody at the police department during its monthly meeting on July 17.

At this time, around 63 firearma and/or pieces of ammunition are in storage under the care of Evidence and Property Officer Sgt. Randy Archambeault.

Chief Stu Chase would like to sell them for the benefit of the town.

A policy has been developed with input from the Attorney General's office and County Attorney Robin Gordon and from information researched by the department's counsel Tim Morgan and Sgt. Archambeault.

The matter has come up in public before, resulting in at least one individual coming in to retrieve his firearm, said Chase. In some cases, the owners have not been identified. In others, owners are either prohibited by law from owning firearms, have surrendered them pursuant to a protective order, or have surrendered them voluntarily.

According to Chase, the policy details the procedure for each classification.

At the start of the discussion, Chase said that he has concluded that it would be best to sell the lot to the Interstate Arms Corporation. It is a federally licensed firearms dealer, as required by the Attorney General and counsel, and the thinking is that sending them out of state would reduce liability.

Commissioner Ron Goodgame questioned though why the idea of taking bids following appraisal was off the table.

Recently sworn-in Commissioner Steve Wood said that the bidding process involves the expense of time and labor, for the property has to be displayed and monitored by staff.

"We don't want anything to walk out the door," commented Lt. Dean Rondeau. "It's a constraint on our resources." In his opinion, selling the lot to one source would be is the most expeditious, "no muss, no fuss: they make an offer on the entire lot."

Local gun dealer and former police commissioner Joe Melanson offered another idea. In his opinion, a public auction (with the possibility of no commission) would be best. He said he has looked at the stock and doesn't "see much value there." Offering it at auction would bring the fair market value.

He had the names of two auctioneers who are federally licensed and are required to do background checks.

Chase said he would take the matter under advisement and look into it further.

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