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updated: 7/16/2013 10:53 PM

Sugar Grove nixes selling guns from storage

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Sugar Grove is as eager as any other suburb to find more money for its budget, from sources large or small.

But the village board Tuesday informally decided that selling guns isn't the way to do that.

The police department has about two dozen guns that were turned in to police by people who didn't want the guns -- weapons that judges have ordered destroyed or guns that were confiscated as evidence that the owners didn't want returned. Some of them have been in storage since the early 1990s.

Police Chief Patrick Rollins estimates the guns could fetch about $6,000.

He was looking for guidance from the village board. Rollins recommended the village destroy the guns.

The discussion was prompted in part by a recent vote by the St. Charles city council, which was considering selling such guns plus surplus weapons to a dealer in exchange for credit toward the purchase of new weapons for officers. Rollins also noted a criminal case pending against a police officer in a Northwest suburb. A resident came in to the station to turn in guns voluntarily, and that officer instead offered to buy the guns, according to a police report.

Trustee Rick Montalto, a retired police officer, said he has had to deal with gun disposal.

"There were some really nice guns we had to dispose of and I almost shed tears," he said, but it wasn't worth the risk of a gun ending up being used to commit a crime by its eventual owner. Or, for example, if a gun was used in a suicide, the surviving relatives could be upset to learn police cleaned the weapon and sold it, he said.

"It's just not good public relations," Montalto said.

Trustee Robert Bohler said selling would also violate the trust of people who have brought guns in specifically to have them destroyed, such as people who may be cleaning out a late loved one's home.

Trustees seemed amenable to allowing an exemption if the gun is of historical value, such as a musket. That kind of gun could be given to a museum, Rollins said.

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