I appreciate the intentions behind the Bay Cities gun buy-back program as reported in the Breitbart News link below.
Now, before some of you begin to think about the foolishness of me looking at Breitbart, please close your open windows on Salon and Daily Kos.
Good intentions don’t always produce good results. Sometimes good intentions produce no results, or even bad results. The gun buy-back program fits the category of futility. Just a glimpse of the photo in Breitbart reveals a lot to a person knowledgeable about firearms. Many of the firearms aren’t worth the hundred dollars being offered, and at least one has been modified so that it fits the description of an assault rifle, perhaps in order to claim the $200.
Letters were apparently sent home with schoolchildren, asking parents to participate in the buy-back program. Granted, if there are loose, unattended firearms in the homes of children, not wanted, not needed, even non-functioning, they need to be gotten out of harm’s way. But, a responsible firearm owner should not need a hundred dollar bribe to do this.
Every gun buy-back program I am aware of has produced a pile of non-functioning, worthless firearms, with a few functioning ones mixed in. Many firearms owners have taken these programs as an opportunity to clean out their worthless inventory, at a handsome profit. Criminals and burglars? They likely only turned in their worthless firearms, too…those the pawn shops laughed at when someone tried to pawn them. I own a couple of guns like this, just hoping that one day a buy-back program will be held locally and a few guns worth nothing at all can be turned into a few hundred dollars.
You think I would be scamming the system?
Well, let’s think about the system.
I never heard of a gun buy-back program that has a list of questions qualifying the seller. The ones I heard of were all no questions asked. No questions, no problem: just take the gun and give me my money.
Here’s a link to a Bay Area newspaper concerning the buy-back: http://www.ibabuzz.com/politics/2014/12/12/bay-areas-big-cities-have-gun-buybacks-saturday/
The other link in the Breitbart piece requires a paid subscription to read.
One of the photographs show police holding a number of single-shot shotguns purchased in the buy-back program. There are few times in the history of criminal activity that single-shot shotguns were used in robberies, car-jackings, and multiple shootings, though, indeed, they can and have been used in domestic violence cases. If you are killed by a shotgun blast, it matters not whether it was an 8 shot Remington or a single-shot H&R….you are dead either way. Yet, the single-shots seems to always be over-represented in the buy-back program photos. Hmmmm! Someone cleaning out their closet? Selling Uncle Phil’s rusty old single shot for extra cash?
The link below to the Santa Clara County website does show that the buy-back program they held was anonymous, no questions asked. It did net several handguns and a few “assault weapons” as defined by California.
I suspect many of these handguns were not functional, or stolen but had no street value, or not otherwise pawnable. I even suspect that more than a few pawnshops used these events to clean out their non-redeemed $10 gun pawns, properly transferring them first to a responsible person who netted a nice profit on the program. If I bought a worthless gun for $25 and sold it to Santa Clara County for a hundred, that is a capital gain that is hard to beat. I could make a living doing this.
A gun buy-back program was tried in Mississippi, but gun collectors and dealers gathered outside the venue and were inspecting the guns, offering far more money for valuable, functional guns than the program was paying, ensuring that the program was purchasing only worthless guns. A spate of ensuing local government rules, regulations, and ordinances was issued then challenged in court and it was determined that licensed dealers, and even individuals, had every right to inspect and buy the guns before the potential seller entered the program premises. I daresay there will be no more gun buy-back programs in Mississippi. It was too embarrassing for the program sponsors.
Programs like this make folks feel better about themselves than they produce good results.
Claims like, “If we only prevented one firearm-related death, then it was worth it,” are hard to argue with, because one cannot place a value on a human life, but they are akin to some of the claims one hears about the Affordable Care Act: “If only one person was able to get the health care they need because of Obamacare…..” Never mind that we threw as many people off of insurance as we added. Never mind that the President said that the number of people who lost their insurance was insignificant. If insignificant is true, then then number who gained insurance is equally insignificant.
I will not dredge up the tired old claim about criminals and guns. It gets as tiresome to me as it does to gun-control advocates. Simply put, the 2nd amendment recognizes the right of the people to keep and bear arms. The “well-regulated militia” part…well, the courts threw that part out a long time ago, and folks who are not happy about it should be glad that the courts also threw out the “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” which says something about Congress and nothing about states, nor has any language impeding individual states in any way. We all want what we want, and we want it on our own terms…but we seldom get it that way.
The citizens, and their local and state governments, have the right to conduct gun buy-back programs on any terms they wish, since it’s their locality, their money, and their time. They have the right to feel good about themselves and their efforts. They have every right to make an effort to accomplish something that they think is important, and I salute them for that, though they may be a bit disappointed if someone knowledgeable were to give them a report on each gun they actually bought back.
They might find they paid too much for too little.
In some cases, they might find that some of the valuable, functional guns they purchased were not actually destroyed. They would find this very disappointing.
A firearm can look functional and not be so. I have a Pederson 12 gauge over/under shotgun pictured below. It appears to be perfectly functional. The only way you can tell that it is not is to put two shells in it and pull the trigger twice, only to have it not fire either time. It is completely useless other than as a wall hanger decoration. Internal parts have failed and they are not available for purchase, anywhere. They could be hand-fabricated by a talented gunsmith, but I’d have about a thousand dollars in a $300 gun. The gunsmith would tell me I’d be better off putting the thousand dollars into a new, or better gun. He’d likely make me post the thousand dollars up front, not wanting to risk the chance that I may not come back to get it after the expensive work had been done and he’d have a gun he couldn’t sell for anything near what the repair cost him in time and materials.
I can’t sell it to anyone, because I am unable to sell it without telling them that it won’t shoot, and you can’t make it shoot. You can’t cajole it into shooting. You can’t plead with it, browbeat it, or shame it into shooting…but it looks good. It looks like a gun anyone would like to own. The only reason I keep it is because I can’t bring myself to throw it away, and maybe one day, I can find its functional twin, or a twin that has some minor problem for which the one I have has good parts. If you have a Pederson like this, let me know and I’ll give it to you, provided you are legally able to possess a firearm, and if you aren’t, then why do you have the one you have?
I am looking for a no questions asked gun buy-back program so I can claim the hundred dollars. The law-enforcement officers they have at these events will look at the shotgun and shake their heads wondering why anyone on earth would want to get rid of a fine looking shotgun like that, perhaps wishing to themselves that this one could fall by the wayside and be taken home with them. They would think this while looking at the pile of rubbish that was exchanged for valuable cash.
If they made it home with the Pederson, they would soon know its true value. When they took it to the gunsmith to have him take a look at it, they would soon know that a hundred dollars was far more than it was worth, since a gun that won’t shoot only has value as a movie prop; then, perhaps, the rental the studio pays for the prop is far more than a hundred dollars.
Let me know if you have one like the Pederson. It’s free if you do and are willing to come and fetch it. I keep it outside my gun safe, hoping that in the event of burglars, they will be satisfied with stealing it.
Things are not always what they seem.
CLARIFICATION: 10:50PM The photo used in the Breitbart piece was pointed out as one from a previous buyback program and has become what the news media refers to as a “stock” photo. The photo above of the Pederson O/U shotgun is not a stock photo, but was taken in my kitchen. I am all for the removal of guns from the hands of those who cannot legally possess them, and this includes teenage gangsters. People in major urban areas sometimes seem to think that things are worse where they are, as if major urban dead is somehow deader than small town or rural dead; that is similar to thinking that dead from a .22LR is less dead than dead from a 30-06, or that dead from a home sprayed with bullets in a drive-by is more dead than a point-blank head shot, or dead from an “assault rifle” is more dead than dead from a shotgun blast. While I have to admit that gun violence is a problem, I am not willing that the people’s rights acknowledged by the 2nd amendment be impeded. Please note the recent trend in miscreants using hammers to commit murders. The effectiveness of gun buy-back programs is arguable, as plainly evidenced by arguments, but the honorable intentions of those who sponsor them is not. Many of the firearms shown in various photos from California buyback programs are indeed illegal in California, due to their capacity. None of those pictured would be illegal here in Mississippi.
And the Pederson?? I really don’t want to get rid of it. I keep hoping that it will magically repair itself. In the meantime, it has value as a theft decoy, even if that value is only imagined. For all of you who have expressed an interest in buying it, here is its problem: The receiver was mis-drilled at the factory. The firing pins do not align with the primers on the shells, striking the primers at an angle at the edges. It needs a new receiver, or the old receiver drilled out, plugged with steel rods, and new firing pin holes drilled and machined so that they properly align. It never shot properly from the factory and should have never left the factory. It was purchased by the original owner as a factory second from a lot of seconds, which is not at all like purchasing a pair of factory second blue jeans. Pederson was a brand-name offered by Stevens for mostly Spanish made guns. They were as annually unique as the Turkish shotguns. Finding parts is extremely difficult since the parts changed every year. Go out and buy you a nice Browning, Mirouku, or Berretta. Don’t waste any time speculating about your ability of turning this Pederson into a reliable firearm.
©2014 Mississippi Chris Sharp