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Sheriff’s Sale of Guns

* Your editorial, “Trafficking in Lethal Weapons,” (Sept. 11) alluded to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department contributing to the violence on our streets by making used department handguns available for sale.

Your editorial has sent a very unfortunate message--one contrary to my often expressed concerns regarding guns, criminals, and violence on our streets.

It was just that concern that caused our agreement with Beretta USA Corporation and Interstate Arms Corporation to be precisely structured to eliminate the possibility of our “police trade” guns contributing to the “grisly reality of the gun pandemic.”

The change in our duty handguns over the past several years resulted in a plan for disposal of used weapons. This plan, as shared with the Board of Supervisors, allowed for the sale of used excess weapons to deputy sheriffs at fair market value and the remaining weapons to be traded in or destroyed.

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Our written agreement with Interstate Arms Corporation cites their absolute assurance that all Sheriff’s Department revolvers received from Beretta as trades for new guns will not be resold in the United States, but in fact exported out of the United States for resale to law enforcement agencies overseas.

Because of the extreme sensitivity of this issue, we are conducting an inquiry to ensure that these weapons are being disposed of in the agreed manner. The Los Angeles Country Sheriff’s Department has ceased transferring any of its used handguns pending the outcome of this inquiry.

As evidenced by our agreement on traded handguns and our annual destruction of thousands of confiscated weapons, our primary concern in any undertaking is, and always will be, public safety.

SHERMAN BLOCK

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Sheriff

Los Angeles County


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