Skip to comments.A Reader Reports from the Hartford CT Gun Buyback
Posted on 12/04/2012 7:06:17 PM PST by marktwain
I was standing out in the cold on Saturday afternoon offering cash for guns, and I wasnt having much luck. I was crashing someone elses party ‑ it was a gun buy-back program in Hartford, Connecticut sponsored by some hospitals, non-profits and the local police. The newspaper had advertised that thered be a $25 Walmart gift card for any working long guns turned in ‑ I figured if theres going to be people getting fleeced, I want to be holding the shears. What would people say to $40 in cash on the spot? . . .
Id read about a buy back in Michigan where someone turned in a Mauser. They got a gift card and then the irreplaceable antique that had survived at least one world war was melted down. Gun buy-backs as crime-reduction policy are irrelevant to me. I just cant stand the colossal waste of sending good, or sort-of-good, or even redeemable guns to a furnace.
The going rate in Hartford was a $75 for pistols, revolvers and assault weapons (illegal in Connecticut). I passed up everyone walking into the Community Renewal Center with small bags ‑ you need paperwork for private sales of pistols and I dont have my permit.
I arrived in time to see two older men walking back to their cars with a limp soft case. They said they got $25 for their gun, pretty good. I didnt ask if theyd bother to check the going rate on gunbroker.com for whatever it is they just dumped for change.
Traffic is slow but fairly steady. It takes about 15 minutes for people to go in and come out. The Community Renewal Center is in a predominantly black neighborhood of Hartford but the demographic is almost exclusively older whites.
One man hustled towards the door with a backpack and from the sidewalk I asked him if hes got any long guns to turn in. He said no, and I kept pacing.
A car pulls in with two men, who head for the trunk and start to pull out something about three feet long wrapped in a black garbage bag.
I ask if one of them if hes going to the buy back, and tell him theyre giving out $25 gift cards for long guns. Ill give him $40 cash.
I cant do that. I want this gun to go where it should go, he said.
Okay, Ill be here if you change your mind.
About two minutes later four police came out the door, two uniformed and two in plainclothes. They made a beeline for me.
I cant say I wasnt expecting this.
Were going to have to ask you to not do this here. Youre making people feel uncomfortable, asking to buy their guns.
Is it illegal?
This is a non-profit, this is a positive thing. We dont want anything that would reflect badly on it. Im asking you to go somewhere else, please.
I could have said a lot of things ‑ its a public sidewalk, theres no law against private sales of long guns, its a free country ‑ but two thoughts occurred to me. The police really dont want me there at their program and theyre going to ruin any chances of me actually making a sale. If I demand to stay, theyll hover or ratchet up the pressure and tow my car or something. The officer was polite, and he let me have an out that gave him what he wanted without putting the squeeze on me. No sense in pushing my luck.
That was a tactical decision. More fundamentally, I misjudged my audience. The people bringing guns arent looking for fast cash. They dont care that they could get more money elsewhere, or right on the sidewalk from me with my stack of twentys. They believe in these programs, they want to see these guns destroyed.
Losing out economically, the waste of destroying valuable property, doesnt bother them. They think theyre making the streets safer by turning in uncle Tonys bolt-action .22, even though the people running these programs know thats a myth. These things are just a feel-goods for community activists.
I wont be back again next year. Its frustrating to think of objects you appreciate and enjoy being destroyed needlessly. But you cant reason with the unreasonable, especially when they think theyre riding the world of evil one Saturday night special at a time.
I’m wondering if a slightly more passive readerboard advertising “I’ll buy your guns!” approach wouldn’t work better than walking up to strangers when they’re already stressed about their firearms? I haven’t heard of anyone conducting one of these citizen-fleecing operations near me recently but if they do I may just try it.
These so called gun buy back programs are some of the most harmful things being done by anyone. The type people who turn them in are the type who would never use them to commit a crime. They are often getting short changed for valuable items.
Most of the stuff getting turned in will be junk but there will also be the occasional valuable antique, museum quality guns, and just fine guns period.
Some probably use them to get rid of crime guns.
And the part that bugs me the most is the “buy back” part. These cops think they own the world apparently since they make you think they were theirs to start with which they were not. How can you buy back something you never had?
Did the cops manufacture the guns? Did they sell them? Then why in hell do they call it buy back.
All they are doing is disarming the innocent. and wasting valuable property. the whole thing stinks to high heaven.
You are correct. It is political theater designed to delegitimize the armed citizen.
Ha! They won’t be wasted. The best of those guns will end up in the homes of those cops. That’s how it works.
Thanks for the good read. That is good “citizen journalism”. Think of how much they will rake in when they start having their book burnings. Bibles, constitutions, founding docs, etc.
People willing go sell working long-guns for $25 at Wally World deserve to be unarmed and helpless when the SHTF. It won’t be me.
I’m wondering what might happen if I were to advertise a gun buy-back program, and offer a $25 walmart card, the only difference being I get to keep whatever weapons I buy. Private party transactions, shouldn’t be a problem, right?
It’s worth a try, The term “gun buyback” might make them feel better.
If you can arrange those two things, I think it will work very well. Try to arrange it for some very liberal but well to do area...
You may get some really nice old shotguns, rifles and handguns that ignorant liberal widows just cannot stand to have around./s
You may be on to something. Do the process the same as the silly "buy backs" but let them know the guns will be put into the legitimate system with the proceeds to go to a charity such as "special operations warrior foundation".
If the police will not cooperate, sue them under equal protection clause, as they are favoring a particular party.
I do not know if it would be doable, but I think there are laws in place that make it illegal for civil servants to favor one party over another.
If you got a gun that had been stolen, you could have real trouble.
I see these things and invariably wonder how many valuable, old Colts and other premium firearms are given away to be destroyed or (more probably) end up in some cop’s personal collection.
There are a lot of crazy people out there who spit on five or six hundred bucks because they’re just too darned lazy to sell on Gunbroker.
Exactly. They check to make sure they are clean, and keep them.