GREENSBORO, N.C. - Could a gun used in a crime end up back on the streets? It could happen thanks to a new state law that took effect September 1.
The law prevents law enforcement from destroying many of the guns they seize from criminals.
Before this law passed, police and sheriff's departments destroyed seized weapons that were no longer needed for any investigation.
Now, law enforcement will have three options.
* Donated weapons to a museum
* Keep weapons for training
* Sell weapons to a federally licensed gun dealer
The Guilford County Sheriff's Department will trade weapons to federally licensed dealers. In exchange, the department will get ammunition and other supplies from dealers for the sheriff's department.
"It is more labor intensive. Administrative hours are going to go into setting this up. We will have to setup viewings for the weapons and allow people to bid on them," Guilford County Sheriff's Department Capt. Tony Caliendo said.
However, guns used in crimes like murder will rarely, if ever, return to the streets because of the complex legal system, among other reasons.
The Greensboro Police Department plans to build a reference library of weapons. In other words, they'll keep one copy of each kind gun they confiscate, and then use the guns for training purposes.
"It will let us test fire the firearms, collect data off those firearms. Then, we can use that in comparison with other crimes that are being committed," Greensboro Police Department Evidence Technician Gordon Shanks said.
Deputy Chief Anita Holder added, "We're absolutely cautious about going into any venture that puts firearms back out on to the street."
The Greensboro Police Department is still trying to determine what to do with weapons once the library is complete.
The Rockingham County Sheriff's Office told us it will determine what to do with weapons, on a case-by-case basis.
WFMY News 2 reached out to the sponsor of the bill, Senator Andrew Brock, to ask him why he supported this law, but he did not return our phone call or email.