CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office held a firearm auction Thursday, raising money for local police departments.
According to West Virginia’s Unclaimed Property Code, state and local law enforcement agencies are allowed to annually turn over any unclaimed, seized or outdated firearms. More than 600 firearms were available to bid.
The event was not open to the public, but instead to pre-registered licensed dealers.
“They have the opportunity to refurbish these firearms and then sell them to the public which is a benefit to our gun shops also here in West Virginia and the surrounding states,” Treasurer Riley Moore (R) said.
Last year’s auction was canceled due to COVID-19, increasing the state’s stockpile. Deputy Treasurer and Communications Director Jared Hunt said $139,790 was raised, the largest amount the office has ever raised.
Moore says the funds can help police departments buy better equipment.
“This could help them buy new radios,” he said. “In previous years, people have bought police cruisers with it, all those necessary items for them to protect and serve their communities.”
Ravenswood Police Chief Lance Morrison says smaller departments like his benefit the most from this sale.
“We have about 10 officers, give or take, and this program helps us provide equipment for our officers to keep them safe,” he said.
Morrison says his department recently bought new radios costing more than $15,000, a cost that would have been too high without the auction.
“Today things are getting very expensive,” he said. “Had it not been for this program, we wouldn’t have been able to purchase those.”