Tennessee law could lead to police selling firearms seized in crimes

photo Some of Metro Nashville Police Department's seized firearms.

Deep inside the Wilson County Sheriff's Office is a vault containing racks and racks of hundreds of seized guns.

For the most part, they just sit there.

"These are already crowded evidence areas, they crowd them up," said Sheriff Terry Ashe.

But efforts are afoot to force authorities to sell seized guns to the public instead of letting police departments destroy them, trade them for service weapons or stockpile them.

The effort exposes a long-standing dispute among law enforcement, gun dealers and gun-rights advocates. While police say they don't want to see more guns on the streets - particularly guns already used in crimes - gun supporters say that police should sell them to law-abiding citizens not only on principle, but also as a way to raise additional revenue for police departments.