08/24/07 — Fremont will sell 44 guns found in evidence locker

View Archive

Fremont will sell 44 guns found in evidence locker

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on August 24, 2007 1:54 PM

FREMONT -- Fremont police Chief Ronald Rawlings is going to have a few guns for sale after discovering an evidence locker full of old weapons -- and a change in state law that allows him to run a sale.

Rawlings said the 44 firearms should have been destroyed as long as two decades ago.

But now, a new law allows him to sell the surplus guns -- and he said he hopes sealed-bid sales could bring in $3,500 to $5,000.

The surplus guns were one item discussed at Fremont's regular Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday.

Rawlings said the guns can only be sold to state-licensed firearms dealers.

"Now, rather than turning the weapons over to the sheriff's department to destroy them, the police department can sell the weapons," the chief said.

The law allowing the sale is so new that District Attorney C. Branson Vickory's office was not familiar with it, the chief said.

Rawlings said Town Attorney Jim Cauley of Wilson actually had to design the form to allow the sale of the guns. The paperwork didn't yet exist.

Town Manager Kerry McDuffie said plans were to sell the weapons in lots of about five in sealed bids from licensed weapons dealers.

The chief said the ancient gun situation in his evidence locker warranted attention. He did an inventory of the locker when he started work in March this year.

"Some are weapons that have been in the evidence locker since 1984," the chief said. "If you've got weapons in there over 20 years, it's far over the time."

In addition to his gun announcement, Rawlings also said teenagers hanging out on Ballance Road after curfew should expect increased interaction with police.

Alderman Annie Lewis said she wanted more patrols on Ballance Road after Fremont's 9:30 p.m. curfew for citizens under the age of 18.

"I have seen a lot of teenagers out there, who should be at home at bed," Mrs. Lewis said. "At least if not in bed, at home."

Rawlings said he agreed with Mrs. Lewis, and had handed out a copy of the curfew ordinance to his department, which has four full-time officers and other part-timers.

"They are enforcing it," Rawlings said. "And it's getting enforced good, because I'm getting complaints about it."

Also at the board meeting, the aldermen heard a complaint from two sisters who said they often can't see their mother's name on her tombstone at Elmwood Cemetery at the corner of North and Vance streets.

Sisters Joyce Johnson, who lives just outside Fremont, and Ann Keen of Sims said they are disappointed in upkeep of their parents' graves.

The sisters were born to the late Margaret and Braxton Holloman of the Fremont area.

"I have been really upset. My mother has been there over a year. Every time I have been here, you couldn't even see my mother's name on the stone," Mrs. Keen said.

Family members have been applying weed killer around their loved ones' gravesites, the sisters said.

Town officials said grass at Elmwood Cemetery is supposed to be cut every two weeks. Officials said they would look into the matter.