By Scott Rothschild
Topeka — The Kansas Department of Revenue has gotten into the gun business.
The tax collection agency seizes property, including weapons, when it tries to collect on the state drug tax.
“I had enough of an arsenal, we could’ve invaded a small nation,” Revenue Secretary Joan Wagnon said Tuesday.
Officials said the agency probably had acquired about 250 rifles, shotguns and handguns during the last few years.
A law approved in 2005 allows the department to offer the guns to several state agencies, including the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Department of Wildlife and Parks, local police departments and even the Kansas Historical Society, with possible antique weapons.
Now there are about 40 weapons left, and those will go on sale through an auction in the near future, officials said.
The drug tax was enacted in Kansas in 1987 as a way to collect taxes from people arrested for dealing illegal drugs because they don’t remit sales taxes or pay income taxes on their profits.
If dealers are caught with a certain amount of a drug — more than an ounce of marijuana or more than 10 doses of LSD, for example — and don’t have a Kansas drug tax stamp affixed for the proper amount, the state can assess the tax against them.
The tax is seldom paid off in full, and the state can place a lien on the drug dealers’ property.
Now the guns are stored in the Kansas Department of Revenue’s vault.
Tom Groneman, director of Alcoholic Beverage Control, which is a division of the Kansas Department of Revenue, said only people with a federal license to buy and sell firearms would be able to bid on the remaining weapons.