A Pennsylvania coroner said this week that the state’s law required him to auction off guns that were used in suicides and other accidental violent deaths, even though his county has not held a similar auction in 30 years.
Westmoreland County Coroner Ken Bacha told WTAE that his office planned to sell 97 guns during the Nov. 8 auction. He said that families of the deceased are given one year to claim the weapons, and then Pennsylvania law required them to be sold.
And Bacha said that the violent history of the guns could actually inflate their value.
“Most of these firearms that are going to be auctioned were non-homicide firearms,” he explained. “In other words, accidental deaths, but most of them were suicides.”
“Now as we’re a week and a half away, we’re getting more phone calls, several today. I talked to the auctioneer today, and he’s getting a lot of hits on his website, and a lot of calls to his website.”
Bacha said that people calling about the weapons wanted to know about the deaths connected to them.
“I know when my dad had an auction back in the 80s, there were guns that were valued at a $100 brand new that were selling for $200,” he noted. “Is it just the novelty of it, that this gun took a life? I’m not really sure.”
Watch the video below from WTAE, broadcast Oct. 29, 2014.