- Associated Press - Monday, February 10, 2014

HERNANDO, Miss. (AP) - The DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department is returning 12 M-16 automatic rifles, three Winchester 12-guage, semi-automatic shotguns and a 1.5-caliber tear gas launcher to the state.

The Commercial Appeal reports (https://bit.ly/1bEt0kt ) the Vietnam War-era arms were obtained from the state decades ago.

Sheriff Bill Rasco said the arms, displaced by more modern weapons in the past several years, “have just been carried on our inventory and now we’re giving them back to the state.”

A Jackson-based agency coordinates allocation of surplus arms made available from the U.S. Defense Department.

Sheriff’s Department Sgt. John Busby is the caretaker of the weapons as departmental armorer and rangemaster. He oversees an inventory including some 150 handguns, 80 shotguns and 20 AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, not counting SWAT arms.

Busby says the old launcher was never used but the vintage shotguns and automatic M-16s - 10 Colts and two rare General Motors-made types - were used on patrols until four or five years ago.

The GM rifles were made by the automaker’s Hydro-Matic division: “They make transmissions,” said Busby. “They’re worth a lot of money to a collector, but these will never wind up in private hands.”

___

Information from: The Commercial Appeal, https://www.commercialappeal.com

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