Mayor furious that Kentucky is going to "auction off" the AR-15 used in Louisville mass shooting

This is not a "political issue." But it becomes one when GOP "would rather ban books and pronouns," Democrat says

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Staff Writer

Published April 11, 2023 3:55PM (EDT)

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg speaks at a press conference on April 11, 2023 at Metro Hall in Louisville, Kentucky. (Michael Swensen/Getty Images)
Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg speaks at a press conference on April 11, 2023 at Metro Hall in Louisville, Kentucky. (Michael Swensen/Getty Images)

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg on Tuesday decried a Kentucky law that allows the rifle used in Monday's mass shooting to be auctioned off.

The shooting at Old National Bank on Monday killed five people and wounded eight others. The Louisville Metro Police Department reported that the suspect legally purchased the AR-15 rifle used in the shooting from a local gun dealership on April 4.

"Under current Kentucky law, the assault rifle that was used to murder five of our neighbors and shoot at rescuing police officers will one day be auctioned off," Greenberg said during a Tuesday press conference at Louisville Metro Hall. "Think about that. That murder weapon will be back on the streets one day, under current Kentucky law."

Greenberg said his administration has already directed police to remove the firing pin in confiscated guns before turning them over to the state.

"That's all that the current law allows us to do" he added. "That's not enough. It's time to change this law, and let us destroy illegal guns, and let us destroy the guns that have been used to kill our friends and kill our neighbors."

Rep. Morgan McGarvey, D-Ky., also delivered an impassioned speech at the presser, arguing that legislators have not put "the tools on the books to deal with someone who is an imminent danger to themselves or to others."

"We can do this," he continued. "We can come together at the federal level to solve this problem which is impacting all of us in a uniquely American way. And get universal background checks, so that people who shouldn't have a gun can't buy one. That we are taking weapons of war off our streets. That we are helping people who are in crisis."

"That is not a political issue," McGarvey added. "But it becomes one when Kentucky Republicans would rather ban books and pronouns and then make Kentucky a sanctuary state for weapons."

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Greenberg has adamantly opposed the resale of firearms confiscated by law enforcement, vowing in 2022 that part of his plan to reduce crime entailed seeing that Louisville police ensure that firearms are inoperable before they go to auction.

"We're spending millions of taxpayer dollars to take illegal guns off the streets, to remove guns from the hands of criminals, or people seeking to do harm, and then there is a process in place where these guns end up back on the streets in different people's hands," Greenberg said during a September 2022 interview. 

Greenberg narrowly survived a shooting in February 2022, when a candidate for Louisville's metro council opened fire on the then-mayoral candidate at his campaign headquarters. The gun allegedly used in the shooting was purchased at a pawn shop mere hours before the event took place.

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Gabriella Ferrigine is a staff writer at Salon. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she moved to New York City in 2016 to attend Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English and M.A. in American Studies. Formerly a staff writer at NowThis News, she has an M.A. in Magazine Journalism from NYU and was previously a news fellow at Salon.

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Aggregate Craig Greenberg Louisville Shooting Morgan Mccgarvey Old National Bank Politics