GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Getting illegal guns away from criminals and off the streets - that's one goal of the Greensboro Police Department to keep the public safe.
But as they make strides with that, especially with the new Gun Stoppers program, they're faced with a new dilemma.
The so-called "Keep The Guns Law," which passed in North Carolina a few years ago, says they can't destroy most of the guns they take in.
Once a gun seized by police and is no longer needed as evidence, there are only two scenarios it can be destroyed: if it doesn't have a serial number or if it doesn't work.
That's not the case for most guns that come in, so what's left?
"We can either hold on to them or sell them to a federally licensed firearm dealer," explains Andrea Harrell, an attorney for the Greensboro Police Department. "Those are the only two options under the current statute right now."
A lot of departments, like the Guilford County Sheriff's Office, do put them up for sale. That money helps fund more resources. But GPD takes the other path.
"This department is not in the business of putting guns back into our community," Harrell explains.
Police Chief Wayne Scott says he doesn't want seized guns winding up in the wrong hands.
So they keep them out of sight, but not out of mind.
"We have shelves upon shelves to try to keep them in the safest place possible to keep them out of the community"
Police say they have about 6,000 in storage right now, more than they anticipated.
"We are more than willing to put up with a storage issue if it means keeping guns off the street."
Chief Scott gave an update earlier in the week on Gun Stoppers, saying the program has been successful since in launched in February 2017. So far, they've seized 33 guns from tips. It works like Crime Stoppers, where people can call or write in anonymous tips.
If you want to report an illegal gun, you can call Gun Stoppers at 336-373-1000; you can text BADBOYZ to 274637 with your tip; or you can email in at www.ggcrimestop.org.
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