'Save the gun' law bars cops from destroying guns

RALEIGH, N.C. -- You know those gun-buyback programs where police purchase weapons in order to destroy them? This week, a North Carolina law goes into effect that blocks police from destroying confiscated or unclaimed firearms.

In the polarized post-Sandy Hook political era -- with some liberal states tightening gun laws while conservative legislatures have moved aggressively to loosen restrictions -- North Carolina's gun-destruction policy is among the most unusual policies to take effect.

The so-called "save the gun" law, at the urging of the National Rifle Assn., breezed through votes by North Carolina's Republican-controlled Legislature in the spring as the state moved to strengthen gun rights. In October, concealed-carry owners will also be allowed to take guns into bars and restaurants (as long as they don't drink), or leave their guns in their vehicles while at schools and universities.

The new law requires that law-enforcement agencies donate, keep or sell confiscated guns to licensed gun dealers, provided the weapons aren't damaged or missing serial numbers. In such cases, guns may be destroyed.

Some North Carolina law enforcement agencies had conducted gun buyback programs before the law went into effect Sunday. An effort in Wilmington last week netted 23 rifles and and shotguns and 44 handguns, police said. Held in honor of two local victims of gun violence, the gun buyback ran out of money in 30 minutes.

For more on this LA Times story, click here.