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North Carolina law prohibits police from destroying guns

Jan. 26, 2013: Hand guns are seen in a box in Trenton, N.J., during a gun buyback event.AP

A new law going into effect this week in North Carolina law prohibits law enforcement from destroying unclaimed guns and firearms acquired through gun buyback programs.

The so-called "save the gun" law passed the Republican-controlled Legislature in the spring as the state moved to strengthen gun rights in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The law requires that law enforcement agencies donate, keep or sell confiscated guns to licensed gun dealers. Guns may only be destroyed if they are damaged or missing serial numbers, according to the report.

In the past, North Carolina law enforcement agencies needed a judge's permission to sell or destroy guns. The move to strip judges and local police's options in dealing with unclaimed guns was backed by the National Rifle Association.

"It is critical for you to contact your state Representative TODAY and urge her or him to oppose any efforts to amend H 714 in a way that will allow any discretion by judges or law enforcement to destroy lawful functioning firearms," read an alert issued by the NRA's lobbying arm while the bill was being debated.

A gun buyback program held last week in Wilmington lasted just 30 minutes before it ran out of money. Organizers set aside $4,000 from private donors, planning to pay $100 for handguns, shotguns or rifles and $200 for assault weapons. A total of 67 guns were collected.

In July, state lawmakers approved a bill that allows concealed-carry permit holders to take firearms into bars and restaurants and other places where alcohol is served as long as the owner doesn't expressly forbid it.

The measure, which takes effect in October, also allows concealed-carry permit holders to store weapons in locked cars on the campus of any public school or university. Guns will also now be allowed on greenways, playgrounds and other public recreation areas.

The final bill dropped a controversial provision that would have repealed the long-standing law requiring a background check and permit issued by county sheriffs for handgun purchases.

Similar laws prohibiting the destruction of firearms by law enforcement agencies have been passed in Kentucky and Arizona, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click here for more from the Los Angeles Times.

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