Committee delays vote on bill to ban gun buyback programs


Senator Jim Tomes
Senator Jim Tomes

By Olivia Covington

INDIANAPOLIS – Local governments could lose the ability to buy firearms back from citizens under a Senate bill that was considered in the House Public Policy Committee on Wednesday.

Sen. Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville, said he authored Senate Bill 229 because he’s “never understood the logic” behind firearm buyback programs.

He said rather than allowing local units of government to buy and destroy firearms, law enforcement should take the guns and sell them at public auctions, where prices are usually higher. They could then take the revenue from auctions to buy supplies, such as bulletproof vests, ammunition or new firearms.

Damaged weapons could only be sold to federal firearm license dealers.

SB 229 would also prohibit law enforcement agencies from destroying guns, unless the serial number has been obliterated.

The bill allows citizens whose weapons are confiscated by law enforcement to request to have those weapons sold. The revenue – minus 8 percent that would stay with law enforcement – would then be returned to the weapon’s original owner.

“I don’t see where anybody is harmed in this,” Tomes said.

Bill Dowden, legislative director of the Indiana State Rifle and Pistol Association, said he thinks buyback programs are “feel good” programs meant to make cities appear safer. And, he said the revenue law enforcement agencies would gain under the bill would enable them to do more firearms training.

But law enforcement officials expressed concerns about the bill’s regulations on destroying firearms.

Warren County Sheriff Rusty Hart said he and the Indiana Sheriff’s Association think law enforcement should be allowed to destroy weapons that are taken from crime scenes or meth labs. He said when firearms are destroyed, companies pay for the guns and recycle the salvageable parts.

Hart said destroying quality guns is “the exception, rather than the rule.”

And, Hart said he is concerned that criminals would buy guns previously used in crimes to harm or kill more people. But Dowden said there is no nationwide evidence that supports this concern.

Stephanie Crandall, a Fort Wayne legislative and business liaison, said very few of the guns that are confiscated by law enforcement have obliterated serial numbers, which she said could lead to stockpiles of guns in police stations if they cannot be destroyed.

But both Hart and Crandall said they support eliminating the buyback program because they think it is ineffective.

A representative for the Association of Indiana Cities and Towns said the organization does not support eliminating the program, because its members want to have the authority to decide if the program is right for their community.

The committee took no vote on the bill.

Olivia Covington is a reporter for, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students. 


    • Tomes is a disgrace, who will likely take up space in our legislature as long as he wishes. Cue the indignant Tomesians!

    • Agree some Martha, Thats just more garbage legislation ,and time wasting,while ducking the real issues that “affect” Hoosier income revenues.

      As far as I’m concerned its the Changed Climate,and the economic impacts due to that.
      Learn to build and create revenues giving Hoosier taxpayers Balance sustainability* from the planets conditions as they must evolve forward.

      Start positioning for that,state wide,and elevate the governmental branches to let the Hoosier taxpayers prosper from it.

      Support Climate change actions in all aspects,starting with the supply chain logistics,and transportation and the applied infrastructures that provide evolution forward with that.
      Viable pathways forward need some concentrated effort from those people you sent up to Indianapolis,or else your state will continue to fall backwards squarely in the face of Substantive Due Process.(SDP)

      Indianas leadership is failing its population miserably by wasting time on the wasteful constitutional challenge dances they seem to focus on there. To Bad.
      So many people needing the good jobs “others are” moving forward with. The only alternative right now, is those who do realize this and educate themselves forward to adapt,will indeed start a job search where the region is actively seeking viable solutions,for the real standing issues of the present day.

      How many times does some Supreme Court have to pull a willow stick’ on’em before they realize, what’s really going to keep them “Un-seated” while the rest of the state is standing around waiting for the change needed to stop their own thrashing by the elected pulpit.

      I know this, my own family in Indiana,historically was about 85% republican at the polls in the past. I’m telling you that sure has changed! They just don’t know who to support anymore,neither party seems to get that yet,I think theres a rude awakening on the immediate horizon,historically, the people I know there are just completely fed up with the lack of worthy focus as is being demonstrated by the present crew.

  1. I first heard about this when Sen. Tomes spoke about it at a 2nd Ammendment Patriots meeting late last year. I don’t understand the opposition to these “buyback” programs. I have lived in cities where the lower-income areas are like war zones and these programs were started to give people a “no questioned asked” opportunity to get the guns out of their neighborhoods while making some much needed cash. There is not a shortage of guns in Indiana where we have a need to preserve our inventory. The destruction of these guns eliminates the safety risk of owning a firearm that has been neglected from a manintenance standpoint. It also adds to the job security of the gun manufacturers and their employees. If we are advocates for responsible gun ownership, it seems like we would support removing unregistered weapons from the streets. The guns that are destroyed are from the owners that give responsible gun owners a bad name.

    • Steal guns, sell guns, buy drugs,steal more guns, sell guns, buy drugs, steal guns…

      • IE, trust me, people are not stealing guns from legitimate owners to sell them to the buyback programs. Responsible gun owners keep their firearms in a safe place to protect them from being stolen. I’ve always thought that a person shoud be charged with a crime if they let their gun get stolen. Even if that were the case, wouldn’t they be helping the police recover stolen property and therefore saving man-hours?

        • We have to disagree on this one Phylip. How do you keep anything of value from being stolen by a determined thief? Most people with firearms do have safes, but I have friend with a shop who despite state of the art security has had firearms stolen.

          If you are buying back firearms from law abiding people, then what is the purpose? You’re not taking weapons off the street that would likely be used in a crime.

          Best solution, if a person no longer wants a firearm in the house but does not know how to dispose of it, then let the person call a LEO who would come and dispose of it.

          Gun buybacks are just another failed feel good idea.

          • Taking weapons off the street? So your in favor of removing the them all?


    • Thank you for your comment. It seems like a touch of sanity when compared to Tomes’ ideas for this bill. I must say I agree with LKB also. Tomes really needs to move on back to the homestead and get out of the Senate.

    • Just fluff, to remove the some of heat from the real issues people want to see some work on.

      • And you, sir, from the substance of your posts, deal in fluff on a consistent level.

          • Probably should have said,”you” sound to be “affected” by the comments on a lil’ole blog site,sheez. Throw a grain of salt over your Shoulders…..I hear that helps. 🙂

  2. Tomes is a radical Tea Party type neophyte politician which essentially is the same as saying he’s a political fart in a wind storm. He may be able to change this perception if he ever gets around to working up legislation that benefits the larger demographic of his constituency, but that remains to be seen, and is highly doubtful.

    • One must assume, then, you are an expert on the mental properties of craphouse rats.

      Do you have a federal grant to fund your study? I suppose you must live among them for the in-depth analysis it takes to label Senator Tomes.

  3. “And, Hart said he is concerned that criminals would buy guns previously used in crimes to harm or kill more people.”

    Huh? criminals can not purchase firearms, and why would the police sell criminals firearms?

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