Federal agencies stop selling firearms

January 07, 1994|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- The federal government ordered all federal law-enforcement agencies yesterday to destroy their surplus and outmoded firearms rather then sell them to gun dealers for resale to the public.

In the past 10 years, more than 60,000 semiautomatic pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns have been sold by federal agencies to dealers for resale to the general public, with the proceeds from the dealers going to offset the operating costs of the agencies.

But the General Services Administration, the government's business manager and landlord, told federal agencies yesterday that in the future any firearms they no longer needed, as well as DTC any firearms they seized, must be made inoperable and then sold to be melted down.

"They may be sold only for scrap after total destruction," a GSA announcement stated.

The new federal policy is largely symbolic and will not cut very deeply into the nation's surging gun market, in which hundreds of thousands of guns are sold annually, legally and illegally.

But yesterday's move closely follows a Clinton administration announcement Tuesday that the federal government intends to make it more difficult for gun dealers to acquire and hold sales licenses and will also try to set up a better system of monitoring and recording gun sales.

More than 200 million guns are now in the hands of U.S. citizens, enough for every teen-ager and adult.

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