It was a refreshing contrast to the ill-conceived and misleading so-called "gun-buybacks" that many in the media are drawn to like mayflies to a streetlight, as an Arkansas sheriff's department this weekend legally auctioned its confiscated and excess firearms to an enthusiastic crowd of legal gun owners, raising thousands of dollars in the process. The public gun auction at the Pine Bluff Convention Center on March 22 was hosted by the South Central Arkansas Law Enforcement Society (S.C.A.L.E.S.) Gun Club and attracted some 600 firearms enthusiasts from across the state, with 380 registered bidders. It was operated in accordance with the state's Disposition of Property and Evidence statute.
The auction netted the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office $73,210.00 and the Tri-County Drug Task Force $55,545.00. The total reflected a nearly 450-percent increase from the last time the two agencies held a joint firearms auction in 2005, when a total of $28,000 was raised. Auctioned firearms went to the highest bidder, with the highest bid of $2,375.00 for a Winchester .38-40 Win. lever-action rifle and the lowest bid of $5.00 for a .177 mm BB pistol.
Prospective bidders were encouraged to pre-register to ensure approval through the NICS by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to purchase a firearm prior to placing a bid. Pre-registration and public viewing of the guns for auction was opened on March 20. Throughout the auction, approximately 204 checks were processed through the NICS. However, six individuals hoping to leave with a firearm were disappointed after receiving 3-day delayed notices and one individual was denied approval to purchase firearms by the ATF, according to a press release from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.
"We promote responsible ownership of guns and firearms, which is also why we made gunlock safety kits available to every successful bidder at no charge through Project ChildSafe to help ensure safe and responsible firearm ownership and storage," Lafayette Woods, Jr., Major of Operations for the Jefferson County Sheriffs Office, said in a press release.