Skip to comments.Tucson Gun Turn in - First Hand Account
Posted on 01/09/2013 11:06:11 AM PST by marktwain
Today I attended the gun buyback held in Tucson, which was initiated by a Tucson City Councilman and held on the second anniversary of the shooting here in Tucson of former member of Congress, Gabrielle Giffords.
The buyback was advertised as a no questions asked event and for every gun turned in the donor was to receive a $50 gift card from Safeway.
The buyback, though purportedly a private, non-governmental event, was manned by the Tucson Police Department and took place in the parking lot of the mid-town police substation. It had been reported prior to the event that none of the guns turned in would be destroyed, but rather would be sold pursuant to recently enacted legislation in Arizona mandating that confiscated guns not be destroyed. However, when I inquired of TPD officials on site I was told that the guns turned in would be immediately destroyed TODAY. Apparently, the position being taken is that the buyback was a private event whose organizers were surrendering the guns to the PD for destruction thus no confiscation by the police took place. I suspect that this position is in fact valid given my understanding of the recent legislation.
Interesting as well was the fact that the event was not no questions asked as advertised. Participants were in fact asked for ID and to give contact information. I did note that one or two people declined to provide information and left with their firearms. There were a couple of issues with filed serial numbers and at least one short barreled shogun, but no arrests were made. It is worth noting that all Tucson PD personnel that I encountered were professional and personable and their demeanor throughout is a credit to the Department.
Prior to the event, a former State Senator publicized that he would attend the event and offered to purchase guns for an amount greater that the $50 gift cards being offered by the event organizer. This former Senator was in fact in attendance and I know of at least one firearm purchased by him. The Police Department put out a release that it would not interfere with any private sales or purchases of firearms, such being completely within the law in Arizona.
Many pro-gun citizens also attended the event and they to a large extent remained segregated at various positions on the premises (on request as opposed to demand by the TPD) from the actual gun donors. Many of these patriots held signs communicating their disagreement with the event. While the gun rights proponents with signs kept a respectful distance and otherwise comported themselves with respect, other citizens, such as myself, were permitted, without any intervention whatsoever, to roam the premises and witness the event, take pictures, and engage in conversation with whomever would engage with us. I did not see a single conversation that I could characterize as anything other than cordial, though a few persons there to turn in guns were defensive and/or short when any inquiry was made regarding whether they had or would consider a private sale of there firearm.
The event was advertised to take place between 9:00 am and 12 noon. I arrived at 9:00 to discover approximately 75 people in line to turn in guns. These people (and those to arrive later) were largely comprised of senior citizens. Throughout the event, I saw fewer than 20 persons turning in guns that I judged to be under 50 years of age.
As I walked the line for the next two hours, I saw very few guns that had any value in excess of the value of the $50 gift card being offered. Quite frankly, most of the guns were rusted, inoperable junk. I saw only three firearms that I would value in excess $400, two S&W revolvers and a single 4 blue Colt Python (pictured below). Most of the guns worth anything were comprised of .22 rifles, and all of those were of nominal value.
ALL of the long guns turned in are properly characterized as sporting rifles and shotguns. The vast majority of the handguns were of the cheap, small caliber, off brand variety. Many of the guns required great effort on the part of the TPD armorers to clear or disassemble due to lack of maintenance and, in a large number of cases, a great deal of rust. Most handguns were revolvers.
NOT A SINGLE so-called assault weapon was turned in. I saw absolutely NO high capacity magazines of any sort.
I remained at the event until after its advertised close at noon. By 11:30 am, there was not a single person left in line to turn in a gun. When I left, only 193 of the 200 available gift cards had been given out for firearms turned in. Upon inquiry, TPD personnel told me that only 2 or 3 people turned in guns without requesting a gift card.
In my humble assessment, this event accomplished nothing towards the stated goal of making the community safer. The vast majority of the guns turned in had been owned by senior citizens, many of them widows, who had been secreting the guns away under a bed or in the back of a closet for years never to be used at all. Let alone in the commission of any crime. Most of the rest were just junk being turned in by those seeking to take advantage of the good feelings being sought by the event organizers. In these cases, the organizers gave value for absolutely nothing in return.
It pained me to see the Colt Python go into the bin for destruction notwithstanding its owner having been offered literally hundreds of dollars so that it might be saved. The offers were to no avail as the owner claimed he was saving lives by turning it in. He could not explain how it was that he as the owner was going to permit that to happen if he retained the gun.
I did, however, myself, save one firearm from destruction today. An elderly woman approached me with an Uncle Mikes long gun soft case and asked if I could tell her what she had as a couple of gentlemen had approached her about purchasing her gun. She wanted to know if she had value greater than what the buyback organizers were offering (smart woman). The rifle had been her husbands. It turns out that she had a MINT Ruger 10/22 manufactured in 1965 along with two magazines and two vintage Outers and Hoppes cleaning kits that have never been used. Though at the time I did not realize that the rifle was made in only the second year of the manufacture of the 10/22 by Ruger, I offered to purchase the rifle for cash in an amount much greater value than the gift cards being offered by the buyback organizers. She left very happy and that rifle now resides in my safe.
Reported by VI-Shooter, Tucson 8 January, 2013
More Pictures Here
Thanks for the report. I’m glad you saved that women from getting ripped off by the “Buy back” folks. The Ruger 10/22 is a geat rifle, glad you lucked out and saved this one.
Say,, in states where private sales are legal, whats to stop the good guys from having a gun buy back that competes with the government buybacks? If the city offers 50 bucks, we offer 75. Have the trash guns destroyed, and sell the rest to the local gun stores that would be happy to have more things to sell.
Make a little side cash and torque off the man.
Good idea: Go to gun buybacks and skim the cream off the top, paying more than the authorities, but less than market price. Win/win.
Python is worth $800-$1000. Complete moron idiot getting $50. That worked out well.
While these buybacks are a joke, a lot of cities in Arizona offer periodic “toxic waste turn-ins” that are a grand idea. After the first few years, they have pretty much turned into HAZMAT exercises, and those who run them are just a tad skittish.
People bring in unbelievably dangerous stuff, from old explosives and unstable ordnance to banned industrial pesticides, long fiber asbestos and big vials of mercury. Their favorite was some imported red tile that was very radioactive from the uranium used to color it.
Good save! Nicely done. Thanks for the save and for the firsthand report!
Do these events have anyone who knows what guns are worth to advise unknowing people of the worth of some of these guns?
I thought about this because years ago a friend of mine came across some flyrods left in a house he bought. He asked me to check them out. I hunted around and found an authority on old flyrods. When I told the expert about the rods cases and the name on the rods he told me not to use them as they were worth a lot of money. He also asked me if there was a number under the name and I gave it to him. He was even more excited.
To some, things are just old useless junk, and the same thing to others are treasures. Some guns should fall into that category. - Tom
Gee Tom, the Freepers are so fast they answered your post before you were able to get it online. -Tom
I know what you mean. But I would loved to have gotten my mitts on that Colt Python.
BTW...Beowulf and the Geats didn't have rifles. Blades only.
Yeah...I'm a wise ass.
Liberal moron deserves to lose his money. Problem is he likey didn’t pay for it. It was probably dad’s gun.
I wonder how many stolen guns were sold?
There was a “parallel” private citizen buyback, they got 40 compared to the 200 TPD got. If I’d had the cash lying around I totally would have been out there offering $60 cash. Though I wouldn’t have sold any.
Or how many that had been used in crimes and were now “sanitized” by a person providing a false name and address.
If you live in Arizona and want to protect your right to bear arms, please support the Arizona Citizens Defense League: http://www.azcdl.org/
You might consider this. The guy that did not want to take $200 - $400 for the nice revolver may indeed have had someting to hide. If it was stolen or used in a crime, he certainly would not want anyone else to have it.
I don’t think you article mentioned it, but by any chance, was the “donor” of one of the nice revolvers also one of the folks that 1) turned down a sale and 2) refused to give personal info to the authorities?
Some TPD ‘officer’ owns a new Python-I becha’.
In many states such an exchange is perfectly legal.