From the Bexar District Attorney Debate hosted by Texas Public Radio’s The Source:
Question from David Martin Davies (24:29): Now, Joe Gonzales, let me ask you this question, should guns that are used in crimes be destroyed, or should they be auctioned off by law enforcement and returned to the streets?
Joe Gonzales: Well, we all saw what happened in Uvalde. It was a great tragedy, and, as a result of that, we have initiated a new policy of moving to destroy weapons that are seized in connection with a crime. If we successfully prosecuted an individual, we will move to destroy that weapon. We have to do something to get guns off the streets. I'm a proponent of meaningful gun reform. I support red flag laws. I support waiting periods. I don't see any reason anybody has to have an assault weapon. I don't know why you can go in and buy an AR15 at the age of 18, but you can't buy a 6 pack of beer down the street. It doesn't make sense to me, and I've been pushing for meaningful gun reform. We’re doing our own version of gun reform in our office by moving to destroy weapons whenever we have successful prosecutions. That’s a new policy that's just been started. Hopefully, we'll see some success with that.
Marc LaHood: So, that's a good question. I mean, the reality is that DAs’ offices, including this one, has always sought to destroy weapons. The only time they hadn't before is when the defense attorney recovers the weapon as a form of payment through the appointment process or whatnot. But the reality is this, is that it makes sense that if a gun is used in a crime, and the person accused is ultimately convicted, so they don't get the gun back, ‘cause if the case gets dismissed, then the gun is returned to them. The DA's office doesn't have the power to continue to withhold it. And so, I don't believe in going beyond the power of the law, because I believe in the rule of law. But if the gun is used, if I don't see an issue with returning it or, I guess, forwarding it to an officer of the court, a lawyer, but if an officer of the court is not taking it, then, without a doubt, I don't see any issue with destroying it. That’s a great question, though. thank you.