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Detroit PD Rethinks Gun Sales

Detroit's police chief called a news conference Wednesday to defend his department's decision to sell surplus weapons to gun dealers. At the time the contract was signed, the chief says money was the motivation, reports CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales.

"Do you burn them and throw away almost $1 million in city property or just burn them and get nothing for it?" Police Chief Detroit Chief Benny Napoleon said. "And it's no secret the city was suffering financial difficulties at the time."

The chief was responding to a CBS News investigation that looked at the 12 major cities suing gun makers. The investigation found that most cities were selling or trading their used weapons to gun dealers.

Of the cities investigated, Detroit was the nation's top law enforcement weapons dealer. Over a seven-year period, the city sold 14 tons of guns. The last sale was in January.

"Now the policy will be revisited to see whether or not we will continue to sell department firearms," Chief Napoleon said.

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In Irving, Texas, where CBS News found the police department sold military grenade launchers and assault weapons - the city council had some questions about those sales - and has placed the matter on its agenda for a meeting Thursday.

Irving's police chief defended the policy.

"Our policy is and has been - we will sell to authorized gun dealers as long as AFT authorizes the transfer," said Police Chief Lowell Cannaday.

Texas state law enforcement officials also justified their policy of selling and trading weapons - telling CBS News that if the department had destroyed those weapons and purchased new firearms, the transaction would have cost the taxpayers of Texas nearly $2 million.

In Colorado, four of the five police agencies that responded to the Littleton massacre, including the Denver police, sold weapons to gun shops.

Denver's police chief announced Tuesday night that his department would now only sell firearms to other law enforcement agencies.

And police officials in St. Louis told CBS News that as a result of our reports, a six-figure weapons deal approved just last week is now on hold.

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