U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)-– On July 30, 2022, Houston, Texas, organized a gun “buyback” event. It was the first such event held in Houston. “Buyback” is an Orwellian term because the guns were never owned by the government, so it cannot “buy” them “back.” More appropriately, it was a gun turn-in event.
According to people on Twitter, at least sixty-two 3D-printed pistols were turned in at $150 each. That would be a total of $9,300 for the box of mostly plastic pistols. The 3D-printed pistols are “ghost guns” because they do not have a government-approved serial number on them.
Big shout out to whoever it was that turned in 62 3D printed guns for $150 each at a Houston gun buy-back pic.twitter.com/QYUNxG0Jg6
— Xaniken (@Xaniken) July 31, 2022
Mayor Turner confirmed that “ghost guns” were taken in at the event. From abc13.com:
“I’ve heard it all. ‘Oh it’s just going to be junk guns, this and that.’ You
don’t have a solution to problems, please just sit down and let us step
up, the people who are going to do the work,” Finner said.
“We’ve taken in ghost guns. We’ve taken in rifles. Automatics have been taken in, and so the program is working,” Turner said.
The rules, as published by the Houston government, were fairly clear. The turn-in was “no questions asked”. There was no limit on how many guns could be turned in. There were no limits on how much one person could receive. From houstontx.gov:
The prices offered at the event were fairly low:
Filament for making simple 3D printed pistols is much less. Some estimated less than $5 worth of materials were used for the 3D printed pistols turned in.
Materials: $300. Labor: unknown. Return: $9,300. Message sent: priceless
Other entrepreneurs and or activists were not so fortunate. On Reddit, it was reported some attempted to turn in lower receivers but were turned down by Dallas police.
On Reddit, a poster claimed Houston PD would not take lower receivers because they were not guns:
@GhostGcom: “Took a roadtrip to Houston for their gun “buyback.” Turns out our printed/milled lowers are too spooky. They wouldn’t take them because “they aren’t firearms.” No shit. Proof the new ATF ruling is absolute bullshit.”
The claim seems plausible. A poster on AR15.com said a group brought 40 3D printed lowers and were 10 cars ahead of him.
The line for the event has been reported to stretch for two miles. People waited for hours to move ahead. Some people gave up. The event ran out of gift cards after three hours. It was an ideal time for private buyers to move up and down the line, looking for bargains. From khou.com:
“There were some people going up and down the lines saying we will pay you more than the city and the county are willing to pay you, with no background checks, and mind you, it’s not necessarily illegal and that’s a loophole in the process,” he said.
The setback couldn’t overshadow the program’s success.
Why would responsible private buyers be a “setback”? They serve to stretch the money available to the program, taking valuable guns off the street. The owners who do not want them get more money than they would have gotten from the government. It sounds like a win-win for all concerned.
Funding was provided by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. From houstontx.gov:
In partnership with the Houston Police Department, officers will conduct a Gun Buy Back Operation in the parking lot of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. Depending on the type of weapon, citizens turning in
firearms will be rewarded with a gift card in the amounts from $50.00 to $200.00. All firearms will be retrieved with a no-question-asked policy by law enforcement. Funding for this program was provided by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
At least $100,000 was expended at the event. Mayor Turner says they will be organizing an even bigger one soon.
Mayor Turner said for the next buyback event, they will double their resources.
Second Amendment supporters are likely to be prepared for the next 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.