State Treasurer Riley Moore on Monday presented a check worth more than $20,000 to the Marion County Sheriff’s Department – proceeds generated from the Office’s recent unclaimed property firearms auction.
Treasurer Moore presented the check totaling $20,695.50 to department, which plans to use the funds to help purchase investigative tools and a new training facility.
“This auction allows our Office to take unused or outdated firearms sitting in law enforcement storage rooms or evidence lockers and generate revenue for local agencies to use to pay for new equipment, facilities or training programs,” Treasurer Moore said. “We’re proud to partner with agencies like the Marion County Sheriff’s Department to better equip the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve our communities.”
“This program benefits not only law enforcement by supplementing budgets but by getting guns out of the criminals’ hands and into the hands of responsible gun owners,” Marion County Sheriff Jimmy Riffle said. “Thank you again Treasurer Moore for this and all you do for West Virginia.”
West Virginia’s Unclaimed Property Code allows state and local law enforcement agencies to turn over any unclaimed, seized or outdated firearms into their possession to the State Treasurer’s Office for auction. The proceeds can then be returned to the submitting agency for use.
These include weapons that are older and no longer used by a department, or that have been seized during the commission of a crime and sitting in evidence rooms for an extended amount of time following the disposition of a case. They can also include weapons taken from individuals who are not legally allowed to own firearms.
Once law enforcement certifies they cannot find a lawful owner of the firearms, they can be turned over to the Treasurer’s Office for auction. In order to participate in the auction, bidders must be a valid, licensed federal firearms dealer.
More than 60 federally licensed firearms dealers attended this year’s auction, which was held July 22 in Charleston and raised a record of nearly $140,000 in proceeds.
In addition to the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, other law enforcement agencies that benefited from the event included sheriff’s departments from Cabell, Jackson, Kanawha and Wyoming counties; the Lewisburg, Montgomery, New Martinsville, Nitro, Parkersburg and South Charleston city police departments; the Marlinton, Moorefield, Parkersburg, Union and Weston State Police detachments; and Division of Natural Resources detachments in Farmington and Romney.