U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Gun turn-in events, labeled with the Orwellian term “buyback” are making a small comeback in the United States. Most of them are occurring in states where private sales are not allowed by law. They are not occurring in states which require the valuable property to be sold for the public’s benefit.
Illinois has a version of the law that requires private sales to go through the state website, identify the purchaser of the firearms with a Firearms Owner Identification (FOID), and be assigned an approval number. This eliminates privacy from private sales. It becomes unworkable for private purchasers to buy guns legally at gun turn-in events.
At the Evanston, Illinois event, 53 guns were turned in on December 4, 2021. From wgntv.com:
EVANSTON, Ill. — Evanston police held a gun buyback event on Saturday, just days after a shooting left four people wounded and one dead.
“It gets the guns off the street. Whether it’s one gun or five, today we had 53. It gets the guns off the street,” interim police chief Aretha Barnes said.
Today, citizens were given $100 for each gun and $25 for ammunition. The gun buyback began nine years ago.
“I’m a lifetime 5th Ward Evanston resident and I was concerned about the gun violence I was experiencing in the neighborhood, so I was planning to do a gun buyback,” organizer Carolyn Murray said.
The best academic study of these events shows they do not reduce homicide, gun crimes, or suicide. There is a small but statistically significant increase in crimes committed with guns in the two months after the event.
These events are propaganda, street theater, virtue signaling; they are symbolic, not pragmatic.
They are meant to send the message: Guns are bad. Turn them into the Police.
Eight of the 53 guns shown as turned in at the Evanston event were BB guns, CO2 guns, or spring-powered air guns. Presumably, the people who turned them in received $100 for each of them.
Private purchasers at gun turn-in events eliminate the propaganda value of these events. They show the opposite message:
Guns are good. We pay cash.
Private purchasers buy guns that are worth more than what the organizers of the event are willing to pay. It is a way for ignorant owners of guns, who want them out of their house, to get a closer approximation of what the gun is worth.
An original military-stocked 1903 Springfield rifle may have been turned in at the event (upper right corner). It could be worth several hundred dollars to a collector. Several other firearms worth hundreds of dollars each were turned in. They include what appear to be Glock handguns, a Remington model 11 shotgun, a pair of antique 7-shot .22 revolvers, a near-new .22 lever action rifle, and others.
If the motive of the organizers were to “get guns off the street”, they would welcome private purchasers. Private purchasers would stretch their money, moving guns from unwanted hands into the hands of responsible owners.
There was no indication of private buyers at the Evanston event. It appears the Illinois law worked to prevent private sales.
Ideally, the organizers of these events would sell the guns they obtain in ordinary commercial channels, then use the money to buy more guns from people who do not want them.
Moving guns from unwanted hands into responsible hands is not the intent. Destruction of the valuable property appears to meet an emotional need. Organizers want to shift responsibility for bad events from people to inanimate objects.
When faced with the option of selling the guns or not having a turn-in “buyback” event, organizers choose not to have the event.
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.