Many times these days, when a historic firearm is found by a non-gun person and turned over to police, it’s fate can be the scrap heap.

Remarkably, a police department in Virginia sat on a seized German Sturmgewehr 44 for nearly a decade before it was recently turned over to a military museum, though it was deactivated.

This story from says the Chesapeake Police Department seized the rifle in 2009 from a felon who could no longer possess firearms legally.

The story says that the agency rendered the gun inoperable and moved this week to have the City Council donate the WWII firearm to the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command. The motion was approved 8-0 on Tuesday.

The story says the gun had belonged to the former owner’s grandfather, a WWII vet who mailed it home to Iowa fro Europe. It had sat in an attic for years before he inherited it.

From the story:

“While the agency typically destroys seized weapons that can’t be returned to their owners, the StG 44 was retained and officials approached the Navy about the possible donation last fall.”

“We have all of the weapons that came afterwards that were based on this design,” said Dave Manning, the command’s curator of small arms and ordnance. “But we don’t have one of these.”

About a half million StG44 rifles were produced during the war, but many were recycled by Easter European militaries after the fall of Nazi Germany and went on to serve overseas for decades. The rifle is regarded by many as the first assault rifle, as it is a select fire gun that fires an intermediate cartridge fed from a detachable magazine—and because that’s literally what the name means.

An original StG44 in full auto, registered in compliance with the National Firearms Act and still transferable can sell for $30,000.

Luckily, this piece of gun history ended up in a museum instead of destroyed.