- Associated Press - Saturday, October 31, 2015

HEBRON, Ind. (AP) - State authorities have told a northwest Indiana police department that it has no business selling guns to the public.

The Times of Northwest Indiana reports (https://bit.ly/1Mz8lWA) that the Hebron Police Department purchased 31 handguns between 2012 and 2014 and sold 14 of them during that same period.

The guns were sold to former police officers, reserve police officers and the public. The town paid $12,349 for the guns out of a gift fund and collected $7,584 in sales.

“They’re not in the business of buying and selling guns,” said Paul Joyce, state examiner with the Indiana State Board of Accounts. “They’re in the business of running a town.”

State officials were explicitly clear in a report that the police department was acting outside of authority by selling the guns.

“There is no statutory authority for the police department to engage in the retail business of buying and selling firearms,” the report stated.

The report was discussed July 22 with town officials, who have declined to comment. The town’s attorney did not respond to a message left for him.

In addition to telling town officials to discontinue the sales, the Board of Accounts passed its findings on to other authorities, which could include state and federal agencies, Joyce said. It is up to those agencies alone to decide whether to take further action.

Authorities have not detailed what action, if any, they will take against the town.

If it is discovered that the gun sales continued when the state returns in a couple of years for another examination, Joyce said the finding could be presented to the legislative audit committee. The committee would then give town officials an opportunity to explain themselves and sanctions could follow.

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Information from: The Times, https://www.thetimesonline.com

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