I drove by it this weekend, and couldn't help but laugh at the whole ordeal, the paper does mention that there were guys sitting on the periphery trying to buy firearms, either to keep or to sell and split the difference, but it didn't mention how many of those guys there were. There were a lot. I counted at least a dozen on the section of road I was on, and there could have been many more that I didn't see.
I don't have anything against the city instituting this sort of program, especially when the funds were privately donated and do not come from the cities coffers. But make no mistake, this gun buy back isn't about making people safer, it is a public relations event. It makes the city look good, and the mayor was able to make this statement:
Officers saw guns changing private hands without knowing whether the person buying the gun had the legal right to buy it, and those transactions are occurring all the timeA shrewd move on his part, and if there are any gun rights activists out there, a rather short sighted one on theirs. I believe the threat of private sales is overstated, especially the so called gun show loophole, but at the same time, if the state institutes a requirement for a background check for private sales I can't imagine it receiving a lot of opposition. Provided that they don't charge an obscene amount for it. But this is another discussion for another blog.
The city announced that they collected around 716 firearms, and at this point had confirmed that 4 of them had been stolen. Now there could have been many more, I don't know how long it takes to confirm proper ownership of a firearm, and given private transfers we may never know exactly how many of those firearms were legitimately or illicitly acquired. But as a gun enthusiast, I could tell you one thing, the reason why I was laughing, wasn't because I thought the city was wasting their time, they knew what they were doing. But because the crowd was so foolish.
Outside rusted and inoperable hunks, and I am willing to wager more than a few of those firearms were exactly that, the vast majority are worth far more, even used, than the $100 to $200 gift card offered by the city. Here is my take away, there is almost no possibility that real gun owners were a part of the crowd in my mind, save those just pawning off firearms that aren't worth the metal they are made out of (incidentally I heard that one of the donors to the gun buy back was a company that deals in scrap metal, but don't quote me on that). I bet you the guns were either stolen, since the gun buy back is no questions asked, junk, or individuals that ended up with a firearm that never wanted one; I'm thinking of hipster Henry and hipstress Jane ending up with dead uncle needs 1911 that they just kept in the closet because they didn't know what to do with the icky icky gun.
I've heard that the city is thinking of instituting another gun buy back, and I won't lie, I am tempted to get a wad of bills and see if I can nab a 1911 on the cheap. But there are also some real drawbacks to doing something like that as well.
*Addendum. I was persuing some of the Times forums and I read an article that claims one of his friends was working at the buy back program. According to him, most of the firearms were either cheap knock offs, too old to use modern ammo, or broken in some way were the repair cost would have exceeded the value of the firearm. Third party heresay from the internet I know, but I'd thought I'd share it anyways.