Running out of room to store firearms seized by his department, Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree put more than 1,400 of them on the auction block in hopes of getting more money for police operations.
The guns will be auctioned off as a single lot to a federally licensed firearm distribution company through a sealed bid process. A pre-bid conference is today at 10 a.m. at the procurement department. Then, licensed companies can view the firearms secured in the former sheriff’s administration building, 401 Walton Way.
According to Georgia law, seized weapons cannot be destroyed – Roundtree’s preferred method of disposing of about 5,000 firearms the sheriff’s office has stored. The firearms must be sold or retained.
Proceeds of the sale go to the city’s general fund, but the sheriff said he planned to ask the Augusta Commission to redirect the money to police operations.
No illegal guns, those used in homicides or suicides, guns with a scratched-off serial number or combat and assault weapons were included in the auction lot.
“We want to make it clear these guns are not to be put out on the streets,” Roundtree said at a special viewing of the firearms for the media Thursday.
Rifles and shotguns lined the walls of a secured room and handguns filled 23 small bins. Most of the weapons were seized in the early- and mid-90s, many from drug deals and burglaries.
Several Richmond County deputies guarded the room, closely watching members of the media view hunting rifles, antique long guns, service weapons from the former Augusta Police Department and other firearms.
Augusta businessman Donnie Thompson plans to view the firearms Friday for his Southeastern Armory company. He participates in similar sales frequently.
“We will look at it and see what the value is to us,” Thompson said.
Roundtree said he had no idea how much the highest bid will be. If the auction is successful, the sheriff’s office could hold another one.