“We do a lot of stuff at this firm,” said Brian Bojo, an attorney with McRae, Smith, Peek, Harman & Monroe LLP. “We don’t transfer Class 3 firearms.”
The comment was made in reference to the necessary preparations Bojo has had to make in setting up a court-ordered auction of seized and forfeited items, including 51 guns, linked to a RICO case. He is the court-appointed receiver in the case involving alleged decade-long thefts from Floyd County Schools by former maintenance director Derry Richardson and at least 12 others that resulted in $6.3 million in losses.
There are four items at the auction classified as Class 3 firearms or devices, which are regulated under the National Firearms Act due to their military-grade likeness. A special license, which few have, is required to handle or transfer the items, Bojo said.
Floyd County police officer Chris Shelly said the process of registering a Class 3 item involves "being fingerprinted, an intensive background check by the ATF and sign off by the chief law enforcement officer in the county" who is the sheriff.
"Once the paperwork is approved and returned to the purchaser, he or she can take possession of the item," he said, adding that owners do not have to have a license.
The firearms include handguns, shotguns, rifles and collectors guns, and they will be auctioned off Saturday at the Coosa Valley Fairgrounds — thousands of rounds of ammunition are also up for auction.
“There is a special interest in firearm auctions,” said fellow MSP attorney Chris Jackson.
The auction starts at 11 a.m. The guns, along with the other items being auctioned off, will be available for inspection today from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the fairgrounds — a full list is available at the Dempsey Auction Co. website, www.dempseyauction.com. The guns will only be onsite today.
Those purchasing guns must have a background check, and each sale must get ATF approval, Bojo said. Guns won’t be available to take home Saturday after being paid for, either with cash, a certified check or personal/company check with a bank letter guaranteeing payment.
Purchasers must go to Country Sportsman at 2806 Shorter Ave. by Monday at the earliest to show proof of purchase and their license for pickup.
The Class 3 items will be sold in an online-only auction Dec. 9, and a dealer out of Taylorsville is handling them. In light of the recent mass shootings, Bojo said he didn’t feel comfortable having these items at the live auction.
In reaching out to the ATF, Bojo wanted their officials to first off know he had the items, and he solicited them to monitor the process of preparing them for auction and confirm all their boxes were checked. It’s a “document-intensive” process, he added.
Indeed, the aim for the auction is getting the most money possible for the school system, but with it being court-ordered, doing everything in a responsible way is crucial — they don’t want to put a weapon in the hands of someone who shouldn’t have it, said Jackson.
“Not just anybody can hold and sell guns,” he said, adding that Floyd County police have been keeping the guns in a secure location.
Floyd County police Maj. Jeff Jones and a group of evidence custodians took pictures of each firearm and cataloged them, making it easier to get the photos and information online at the Dempsey Auction Co. website, Jackson said.
The auction has items for just about anyone who hits the fairgrounds Saturday, from sportsmen to construction managers, weekend warriors to decorators, photographers to grill masters. Also, Richardson’s seized home at 241 Riverbluff Drive, which was allegedly built and furnished with illicit funds, is a big-ticket item and will be auctioned off first.
“It’s kind of like going into a department store,” Bojo said. “You may go in looking for one thing but you see three other things you like.”