According to a March 28 invitation to quote, or ITQ, the police department is seeking a mix of Glock 21 Gen 4 and Glock 30 Gen 4 handguns. The request only states that the offer contain 75 percent of the Glock 21 and 25 percent of the Glock 30.
The Glock 21 Gen 4 and Glock 30 Gen 4 each have price tags that range between $500 and $549. The Glock 30 has most of the same features as the Glock 21, but is smaller and more compact. Maj. Debbie Botelho said the smaller Glock 21 is usually carried by members of the Johnson City Police Department’s undercover and criminal investigation units.
Among the mix of confiscated firearms are 12-gauge shotguns, double-barrel shotguns, .38 special handguns, .357 magnum revolvers and .22 rifles. Remington, Ruger, Colt and Smith & Wesson are among the brands, and each firearm is rated based on its condition, ranging from poor to very good.
“The only people that can bid on these weapons are authorized dealers. They have to have a federal license. It’s not just anybody who wants to buy them,” Botelho said.
Botelho said the police department is only able to trade the guns after a judge has ruled on the case related to the seizure and awards the firearms to the department.
“Once the weapons are confiscated and the case goes through the court system, we are awarded those weapons. So we’re awarded by the court. It has to go through a whole process through the court,” Botelho said. “So we might have got these probably within a year or two years. We usually wait until we get quite a few of them seized and get awarded to us before we bid them out.”
The latest Johnson City Police Department annual report shows the department seized 15 firearms in 2016, 15 in 2015 and 23 in 2014.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives data for 2016 shows 10,131 firearms were confiscated in Tennessee during criminal investigations. Memphis led the state with 3,940 firearms seized while Kingsport placed sixth with 111 firearms taken off the streets.
Botelho said most of the guns being traded were likely confiscated during drug seizures or taken from convicted felons who were possessing a firearm. She said she is confident none of the weapons were used in a murder, as those murder weapons can be kept as evidence for as long as 25 years or longer.
“Sometimes, those (murder) weapons are destroyed actually,” Botelho said.
While some critics may see the police department releasing firearms back on the streets, the police department is undoubtedly saving money by not having to buy additional police-issued handguns.
“I don’t necessarily think we’re turning them back on the streets. I guess maybe you could look at it that way, but whoever is buying these guns from the dealer, they’ll do background checks just as if they were selling any other gun that they sell,” Botelho said. “That’s why a citizen can’t bid on them. They have to have a federal firearms license and be a certified dealer.”
Firearm dealers have until Wednesday at 5 p.m. to submit their offer. Responses can be delivered via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Inspection of the weapons is available by appointment. For more information, call Sgt. Donna Tallmadge at 423-434-6136.
To view the ITQ, visit http://www.johnsoncitytn.com/controls/viewFile.ashx?type=purchasingbidnum&id=725 or click here.