Mayor Bloomberg may be one of the country's most vocal supporters of gun control and head the coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns, but that hasn't prevented the city from selling 28,000 pounds of NYPD fired shell casings to a Georgia ammunition store this past June.
A new report from The New York Times offers a glimpse into the sale of shell casings fired by the NYPD to Georgia Arms, an ammunition store that loosely offers bags of bullets without identification or registration.
The sale is completely legal and replicated by police departments around the country. It was also the result of city auction rules that mandate for all city-owned items to go to the highest bidder.
Bloomberg recently criticized President Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney for evading discussion on gun violence, specifically following the horrific Aurora shooting in July.
The mayor even suggested police departments around the country go on strike until the federal government act on stricter gun laws. (Bloomberg eventually walked back his initial statements.)
When asked about the sale of NYPD gun shell casings, the mayor's office said, "He believes, as do all members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, that our purpose is to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, not keep guns or ammunition away from law-abiding citizens. There’s a big distinction between legal dealers and illegal dealers and criminals and law-abiding citizens. We’re about crime control. We’re not about gun control.”
UPDATE: Marc Lavogna, spokesman for the mayor's office, sent us the following statement:
The process for auctions of City property do not allow for restrictions on who can bid and the sale has to be made to the highest bidder. That said, the Mayor’s focus is on keeping guns and ammo out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people, not preventing law-abiding citizens from making legal purchases. No one in the country has been more aggressive or bold in going after bad actors in the gun industry who skirt the law or look the other way to allow weapons to seep into the illegal market and onto our streets.
Further, when the Police Department’s shooting ranges reach a capacity of empty shell casings, the shells are put up for bid as scrap metal. The City’s auction process dictates sales must be made to the highest bidder as I noted and the sales, including the most recent sale in July, have been awarded in most cases to scrap metal or recycling companies. In a recent auction in June, an ammunition company from Georgia made the highest bid and the city had to comply with the procedure applied to all auctions and complete the sale to that company. We do not have a contract with the Georgia company referenced.