Homemade Shotguns At Columbus “Buyback” Gun Turn-In

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- A few years ago, “ghost gun” homemade shotguns were appearing at gun “buyback” turn-in events, as makers of the simple shotguns cashed in on the money to be had. Gun “buyback” is an Orwellian term. You cannot “buyback” a gun you never owned before.

In a recent turn-in event on October 23, from 10:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio, it appears two of the shotguns were turned in for $50 each. The guns show a bit of craftsmanship. The hose clamps are nicely clipped instead of having excessive over-run, the stock is inletted for the barrel and clamping system, and the pipe-barrel muzzle is squared off and trimmed. The materials cost about $10.

“Ghost Gun” homemade shotgun at Columbus event.

The event brought in a little less than 100 guns. Some of them were worth far more than the $50 offered.  From 10tv.com:

The Public Safety office told us they received 73 handguns, 11 shotguns, and 13 rifles.

It is said to be the first event of its type held in Columbus. From 10tv.com:

This was the first gun buyback held by Columbus police.

Public Safety Director Robert Clark said first the guns will be run through the system after being received.

If the guns are reported stolen, they’ll then be returned to the rightful owner. 

If the gun is linked to a crime, detectives will then take over and investigate.

The homemade “ghost guns” have no serial number. They are made all over the world where factory guns are difficult to get. There is some dispute about how much was being paid out at the event. From spectrumnews1.com:

The drive-through-style event allowed citizens to pull up, hand over their firearms to police and get a $50 gift card in exchange.

Copper wire on breech of Ghost Gun Shotgun at Columbus event.

Close inspection of the breech of the ghost gun shotgun shows a copper wire of unknown purpose. It may be these ghost guns are electrically fired muzzleloaders instead of the more traditional slam fire guns. I have made hardware store electrically fired firearms 40 years ago as a proof of principle experiment.

Dispatch reports debit cards worth $25 will be given out. It may be two will be given for each gun. From dispatch.com:

 U.S. Bank debit gift cards worth $25 each will be given as gifts to the first 200 people who turn in firearms at the event, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Columbus Fire Training Academy, located at 3639 Parsons Ave. on the city’s South Side.

In the middle of an ammunition shortage, someone decided to turn in 500 rounds of Remington .22 for free. Maybe it found a good home. The rounds have no serial numbers, like the “ghost guns”. Many firearms professionals are willing to take difficult to “dispose of” ammunition, and dispose of it properly, preferably at a private range.

Homemade guns have been made in the United States since before it became the United States. Bans on making your own legal guns are a new and, very likely, unconstitutional infringement on the right to keep and bear arms. There are no federal restrictions on making your own guns, as long as the guns are legal to own. No serial numbers have ever been required for homemade guns, until very recently.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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One question that has been asked before;
“How can a governmental organization BUY BACK something they NEVER OWNED?”


You will sometimes notice with some of them, a thin stream of drool will trickle down their dumbfounded chins!


the view of the statist is that the government owns everything. Literally, everything. they live among us and are , for the most part, in control.Its our fault.Weve been told how ‘dirty’ government and politics are, and have avoided public service. so, things like ‘buy backs’ are our reward. For the critic, yes, i got involved.


I did too, and found dea to be crooked to the core atf is worse fbi and secrete service both think we the people are the enemy


A few years ago I did a top end overhaul of a FORD TEMPO. I thought about cutting the old pushrods in half and making 16 zipguns. If a .22 LR was too big I’d make a BB muzzle loader.

But I didn’t do it. Just thinking about it might be declared a thought crime tomorrow.

Big George

WHY do you endorse the LSM’s coined phrase of ‘ghost guns’ by repeating it several times in your article?! I’m constantly correcting people, including some LEO’s that they are called ‘HOME BUILDS’!


Are there any hard statistics on how often tracing provides any clues contributing to solving any crimes other than returning stolen firearms? My impression is that the number is in single digits per year – while antis seem convinced it is a critical component of every homicide investigation (whether or not a firearm was used).

Country Boy

the “ghost gun” (pipe hose clamped to a 2×4) looks more like someone bullshitted their way into a few bucks and LEOs were fools enough to fall for it IMO. Let me guess. they got 300 bux to run and buy crack with for it right?

Last edited 10 months ago by Country Boy

Any gun better than NO gun.


The local dealers should advertise that folks can turn in their unwanted firearms and walk away with more cash then at these fake buy backs.


I don’t have the time to c if your reporting about what is and what is not legal is factual, but I do know that back around 1960 or about age 12 I was making 22lr Zip Guns, and I knew that they were not legal at my age even if you were the Age Of Majority, or say 21 years old. Not being legal did not stop me from making them, and to this day I hope no one ever got hurt shooting one and even worse being shot by one. Some of these so-called Rights To Own have… Read more »


Mind telling us which state you grew up in? Dean clearly referred to federal law. Most likely the laws you knew about were state or even local laws – would not expect a 12 year old to have distinguished.
I grew up in a restrictive state where I suspect much of this was already illegal under state law. Took me a while to appreciate all the freedoms I’d gained by moving. Now that I have lived free, I will not go back..


How do we find out about these “buybacks”? I find out about these after they’re over. I’ve seen that in Ohio (canton was the last I saw) we can purchase these off individuals instead of them turning them in.