CLAFLIN -- Today, Claflin Chief of Police Gary Vaughan will meet with Tim Huntley, a representative from the Kansas field office of the U.S. General Services Administration at 12.30 p.m. at the Claflin City Shop. Huntley is coming for four guns the department was loaned from the federal government in a program that provided retired military equipment to local departments. Since then, Claflin has purchased its own guns, and no longer needs the federal guns.
When Vaughan inquired what would happen with the weapons when they were turned over, he was shocked to learn that they were to be destroyed.
“Surely not,” Vaughan said to Huntley. “As many law enforcement agencies there are that can use that stuff and are willing to put up with the paperwork and all that, they need to go back or you need to sell them. They can go back and do the documentation and they can be sold. Let that money go back to the federal government’s general fund.”
It’s an understandable reaction by a Kansas law enforcement officer. In 2014, Kansas adopted CLEO Shall Sign and Comprehensive Preemption legislation. That law not only made concealed carry legal for all Kansans inside the state, it also made all gun laws throughout the state uniform and prohibited the destruction of seized firearms once they are no longer needed as evidence.
Vaughan approached the Claflin City Council over a year ago to ask permission to replace the guns when he was informed that paperwork requirements would increase and he would need to complete online training classes to ensure proper use of the weapons. The new requirements came after the Obama administration ordered the demilitarization of police departments around the country.
Still, Huntley confirmed he will have paperwork with him for Vaughan to sign off on the destruction of the guns, two 9 mm pistols and two 12-gauge Winchester shotguns.
A little over a year ago, Vaughan purchased two replacement pistols for the police rate of $465 each on behalf of his department. For individuals, he estimated the price would be between $600-$700. The department did not yet need to replace the shotguns, but Vaughan believes they would be valued around $800-$900. That’s value paid for by taxpayer dollars, he said.
Vaughan said he will cooperate with the order, but he won’t do so in secret.
“I have my sworn duty to uphold, but inside, I’m steamed,” he said.