The Massachusetts State Police has been scrutinized in recent months for their handling of seized firearms at Logan Airport. The State Police destroy around a third of seized firearms. In some cases before the persons charged with possessing them have had their day in court.
According to the Boston Globe, which broke this story, the MSP seized 21 firearms at Logan Airport in 2018. Additionally, the State Police report destroying eight of those. Importantly, before any court proceedings could take place, the State Police destroyed two of the seized weapons. The other six were destroyed after their owners “voluntarily surrendered them or the ownership was unclear.”
Case In Point
The case that sparked this concern was over an antique firearm, a black powder pistol. A Coast Guard employee had taken the pistol through a baggage scanner, where the TSA spotted it. A TSA agent notified a State Trooper, who seized the unloaded handgun. The Trooper, correctly, stated that he did not believe that the law applied to this black-powder firearm.
The presiding Judge concurred, noting that the law in question does not apply to firearms manufactured before 1900. The Judge then gave an order to the State Police to return the antique gun to the Coast Guardsman. Unfortunately, the State Police had already destroyed the firearm.
Apparently, this is not the MSP’s first issue with improper storage of firearms as evidence. Internal State Police investigations have found at least 18 barracks as having “sloppy and inaccurate recordkeeping”. Specifically, with regards to confiscated guns, drugs, and money.
In 2015, an inspection found in Troop F’s barracks (the troop responsible for Logan Airport) several unidentified items that had been reported destroyed. Later in 2016, logs at the Medford barracks showed six guns listed as present in the evidence locker that had been returned to their owners. In 2017, records in the Belchertown barracks similarly listed two guns as being in evidence, but they had been returned to their owners.
We have reached out to the Massachusetts State Police for comment.
Image Provided by Boston Logan International Airport on Twitter (@BostonLogan).
Original story by the Boston Globe.