Should guns that have killed be destroyed?

Firearms used in murders would be destroyed under legislation that was prefiled Thursday by Rep. Jim Wayne, (D) Louisville, for consideration in the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2011 session.

The legislation, Bill Request 409, would also apply to firearms used in first- and second-degree manslaughter cases, reckless homicide cases, and in crimes where firearms were used to shoot peace officers or firefighters while they are in the line of duty.

“This is a victims’ rights bill,” said Rep. Wayne. “We owe it to the memory of the deceased and to the surviving victims to ensure that a weapon that has stolen a life be taken off the streets forever.”

Wayne’s legislation would order, once a conviction has been secured and appeals have been exhausted, the destruction of firearms by the agency that confiscated them. The weapons would be destroyed by melting or shredding.

Once the weapon is destroyed, a written report would be given to the courts that includes the make, model, caliber and serial number of the weapon, as well as the date it was destroyed and the manner of its destruction. The report would be signed by each peace officer who witnesses the destruction of the weapon, and would become part of the official records of the case.

The legislation is being supported by Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Larson and Mike DiGiuro, whose son, Trent, was a University of Kentucky football player who was killed 16 years ago in a murder case that received much media attention.

DiGiuro said it would be very difficult to think that the weapon that killed his son could be auctioned off and used again. “This bill will help victims families know that the weapons that killed their family member, or wounded their police officer or firefighter, will not be out on the street, possibly to kill again,” he said.

The Kentucky General Assembly’s 2011 session begins on Jan. 4

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