Westmoreland County nets $32K from sale of guns
A Westmoreland County auction featuring nearly 100 firearms Saturday brought in more than $32,700, officials said Monday.
The auction sold 97 guns that had been taken by the coroner’s office during death investigations over the last 30 years, many used in suicides or accidental shootings.
Other items included nine surplus vehicles, bicycles and equipment from other county departments.
The auction drew 395 registered bidders, many of whom took along friends or family members, leading to a packed house at the county’s Public Works Building in Hempfield.
Coroner Ken Bacha said the sale exceeded expectations.
“There were no problems, no purse snatchers,” Bacha said. “Nobody had any qualms that this was what those guns were used for. It went pretty flawlessly.”
The guns, ranging from palm-sized pistols to long hunting rifles, brought in anywhere from $50 to $1,400 each, Bacha said.
Some newer, high-end revolvers drew bids ranging from $600 to $800. A Colt .22-caliber pistol, which Bacha said is a collectible, brought in the high bid of $1,400.
Out of the $32,735 in gross sales, $24,035 came from firearms sales and $8,700 came from other property. The county will pay at least $1,340 in expenses, Bacha said. Some costs, such as overtime for coroner’s office staff and incidentals, including portable toilets, are not yet calculated.
The profit will be go into the county’s general fund.
Auctioneer Bill Anderson of Export will receive $958 in fees and reimbursement for auction advertisements he placed in local newspapers and auction websites and fliers his office printed. The county will pay about $380 in bank charges for buyers who used credit cards, Bacha said.
Two vehicles, sold for a total $2,400, have not yet been paid for, he said.
Buyers who won firearms at the auction could pick them up Monday at Bullseye Firearms Gun Vault in New Alexandria. There is no deadline to pick up the firearms. Buyers must pay $25 for a background check at the shop before receiving their purchase, Bacha said.
Nathan Carey, general manager and co-owner of the gun shop, said more than 30 people had come in to pick up their firearms in the first two hours of the shop’s opening. He expected about half of the buyers to arrive by closing time Monday.
He said buyers must fill out paperwork and remain on-site while he runs their background check via computer.
It usually only takes a few minutes to run the check, but with a crush of people backed up, it could take longer, Carey said.
Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.