Summit County is looking to get rid of some old guns — but wants to ensure that they don’t end up in the wrong hands.
The county’s rules dictated that it must auction off items if the value exceeds $15,000.
Since the old guns used by sheriff’s deputies are worth an estimated $24,000, officials did not want to take a chance and auction them off to just anybody.
Sheriff’s officials instead wanted to be able to trade them in toward the purchase of new weapons.
“The handguns are all departmentally owned weapons, purchased by the county, older handguns the sheriff’s department wants to replace with newer weapons,” said Bill Holland of the sheriff’s office. “So rather than sell them off at auction, we prefer to trade them in to a firearms company. It’s a safety factor. The guns could get into the wrong hands at an auction.”
The Summit County Council voted this week to amend its rules to permit the bypass of public auctions when “certain situations dictate that it is warranted” or when it is in “the best interest of the county.”
Guns seized in drug cases or in other crimes are disposed of by procedures set by the state. Those guns are either reused by police agencies or melted down.
There is a similar ordinance already in place for county property valued at less than $15,000.
Summit County Law Director Deborah Matz said all the items sold at public auctions were bought and used by the county.
“It’s property that we would have purchased or had in operation for whatever purpose and determined it is no longer necessary or we replaced it or we’re planning on replacing it,” she said. “It’s usually county cars or office furniture from charter officers such as the executive’s office, prosecutor’s office, sheriff’s office and engineer’s office.”
Typically, the county waits to accumulate a number of items, from cars to office furniture, before it sets up a public auction.
Officials say the vehicles have 100,000 or 200,000 miles on them and are 10 or 15 years old and can’t be traded in.
Matz said there is a process for disposing of county properties.
“If a department has property they want to dispose of, they have to offer it to all the other county departments first. If nobody from any other county department wants any of it then it can go on to auction, but if they do want it then they take it out of auction,” Matz said. “We can also offer items to other governmental entities such as the city of Barberton, but ultimately if nobody wants this stuff then we send it to auction and hire an auctioneer.”
The county’s next auction is scheduled for Saturday.
Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or email@example.com.