How do you judge the “success” of a gun buy-back? Well in Portland, Oregon, for instance, CeaceFire Oregon (Building safe and healthy communities free from gun violence in Oregon) has held buybacks for five years now. Except this year they only collected 43 guns, down from 152 last year. How to account for the decline? “Mary Tompkins, Ceasefire Oregon executive director, said the novelty of the gun turn-in may have worn off after five years.” That could be part of it. Another reason might have been the two dozen or so “gun collectors” outside waiving cash at people before they entered the building…

The buy-backers were offering $50 grocery store gift cards for each heater handed in. According to portlandtribune.com, the curbside collectors were a little more generous.

The gun collectors waved signs at cars approaching the lot, reading: “I buy guns, $50-$200 cash.”

By the end of the day, the collectors said they had managed to buy 10 to 15 guns that otherwise would have been turned in and destroyed.

Whether the collectors were there for the opportunity to buy undervalued firearms or as a Second Amendment protest was hard to discern.

Apparently asking them wasn’t an option? Making some sort of larger point about the advisability of taking guns on a no-questions-asked basis and then destroying them may have been a factor for some. But it sounds like the chance to buy some nice guns cheap was at least as big a motivator.

“We’re here trying to save decent guns,” said Bob Galloway, a gun collector who drove from Eugene for the event. Galloway said he owns 50 guns but never shoots them.

Jim Clark, also a Eugene collector, said he had another reason for hoping to persuade people to sell their turn-in guns to him. “They’re potentially destroying guns that may have been used in crimes,“ Clark said. “A criminal could bring a gun here that was used in a crime and it would be destroyed.”

At the parking lot’s other entrance, Southeast Portland resident Dave Nelson displayed the rifle and a shotgun he had bought during the day’s events. The rifle, he said, was worth about $150, and he bought it for $100.

Nelson, a Boy Scout leader, had found a useful marketing ploy; he was waving hundred dollar bills at cars approaching the parking lot. He said he would use the rifle to teach his scouts to shoot.

You go, Dave.

The CeaceFire Oregon folks weren’t pleased with the paltry take, though. And they had more than a little trouble believing the outside buyers’ intent was as simple as beefing up their arsenals.

Liz Julee, a Ceasefire Oregon Educational Foundation board member, looked at the men and women at the parking lot entrances and refused to accept that they were there only to add to their gun collections.

“I think it’s political,” Julee said. “I think it’s unfortunate that they feel they need to have an oppositional presence.”

After all, every gun bought outside was one fewer that was ultimately tossed into the smelter. That’s a bitter pill for a gun grabber to swallow. Never mind the fact that guns formerly held by people who didn’t want them and possibly weren’t storing them safely are now in the hands of responsible owners.

Typical of those who were bringing in guns was Vancouver, Wash., resident Barbara Luisi, who said her gun collector ex-husband had given her a rifle 20 years ago and it had been in her garage for years.

But safety wasn’t really the point. Ceasefire Oregon evidently only measures “success” by the number of guns no longer in the hands of private citizens.

Armed Intelligentsia members know an opportunity when they see one. It might be interesting if the Oregon collectors’ idea becomes an inspiration for similar buyer groups staking out buy-backs in other parts of the country.

30 Responses to What If They Held A Gun Buy-Back And Nobody Came?

    • Well, two things. First, assuming that they’re taking the guns to an FFL to do the transfer legally, we know that the new owners don’t have a record. We don’t know that about the old owners. Second, we know that new owners care about the guns, at least enough to spend the money on them. I think that gives us some reason to think that they aren’t going to just throw them in the garage, and that they at least know how to check to see whether they’re loaded. Hardly conclusive proof, but something.

      • Why would they take it to a FFL for a transfer? Like most states, background checks are not required in Oregon between private parties.

  1. “Ceasefire Oregon evidently only measures “success” by the number of guns no longer in the hands of private citizens.”

    Right. These guys must be feeling pretty lousy about their efforts these days, and that makes me smile.

    How long do you think it will take them to ban the preemptive parking lot buy backs?

  2. “After all, every gun bought outside was one fewer that was ultimately tossed into the smelter. That’s a bitter pill for a gun grabber to swallow.”

    That’s gold Jerry! Gold!

  3. I remembering reading about a very “succesful” gun buy back. The gun grabbers were very proud that one of the guns they would be destroying was an “evil” nazi luger with swatstikas on it. It made me cringe, also I saw a beautiful nickel colt python on a table of buy back guns that was going to be melted. I might need to go to one of these events and get some good deals. Whats worse than citizens voluntarily selling there guns to the government is the fact that our tax dollars are paying for it.

  4. This is great. I live in Portland and I have wondered about being legally able to position myself outside the gun buybacks to buy something of value. For now it is a go. BTW, while there have been an increased number of gang banger shootings this year directed at other thugs, Portland is usually a very safe city. There aren’t any ‘bad’ neighborhoods though some areas are obviously a safer bet than others. Compared to Chicago or San Francisco the different races in Portland get along fine. It is a laid back place. While Portland is going increasingly liberal they aren’t as crazy as the ones in San Francisco. There are many liberals in Portland that own guns.

    With the economy down, many people are probably preferring the higher prices they can sell their used guns for at dealers and pawn shops vs. getting a $50 food coupon.

  5. I can beat that grocery card deal. I’m willing to exchange Italian pastries for firearms. Leave the gun, take the cannoli.

    • Are you willing to throw in asiago cheese, dry salami, real balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil (cold pressed), a fresh baked loaf of rustic Italian bread, and tiramisu?

  6. Orlando has one of these every year; they call it Kicks for Guns because it started off giving people sneakers for the guns they turned in. Now it’s a $50 gift card (while supplies last). In 2010 they collected 1356 firearms at nine locations; I didn’t see numbers on this year’s collection. I’ve often wondered about the value, historical or otherwise, of the guns they collect.

    My friend was in town during this year’s drive and heard the radio ad, and wondered out loud about the legality of buying the guns from the people before they turned them in, as these people did. Unfortunately, the locations are often the local cop-shops scattered around the greater Orlando area, and their procedure is that you have the firearm, unloaded, in a plastic bag, in your trunk. You drive up, an officer removes the firearm from your trunk, gives you a ticket of some kind, then you go park and turn your ticket in for the gift card. The system, combined with the collection locations being police stations, pretty much precludes the ability to try this, I think.

    It’s worth noting that the drive here is not run by or really affiliated with the local government. It was started 14 years ago, and is still run by, the local talk radio station. The gift cards are donated, I believe, so our tax dollars aren’t really involved. The firearms are taken no questions asked, and the guns ARE all run through the system. I don’t remember exact numbers, but I know they have stated they have cleared crimes with them, and in 2011, I believe they returned 6-7 stolen firearms to their rightful, original owners.

    It still pains me to think of what might be getting destroyed, but I suppose we’re getting some benefit, because at least they’re checking them before they melt them.

    {edit} I was scrolling through the site, and found this year’s number. They got 2230 guns this year.

  7. These are actually good in one circumstance: for people who have utterly worthless rusted through or broken saturday night specials to get rid of. You can get 50 bucks for a hunk of iron oxide! My brother has sent SEVERAL people with totally unserviceable guns in that direction, even with old rusted out starter pistols (that frees up 50 bucks in one’s budget that usually gets put into a serviceable new or used gun!).

    -D

    • I remember somewhere they would buy rifles for $200, problem was that at the mall the buyback program was at you could by a mosin nagant for $90, you could bring your old mosin and trade it in then buy two more mosins and even have lunch money left over

      • Oh my gosh! What a fantastic idea!

        Keep trading in Mosins until you have enough cash for an evil black rifle, with the shoulder thing that goes up, of course.

        Although, I’d feel bad trading in perfectly good Mosin Nagants to be smelted…

        • Or aim for the stars, we could trade in junk guns and pool our money, then purchase a browning m2 machine gun then engrave sponsored by the million mom march on the side! Gives a whe new meaning to cash for clunkers!

    • I’ve often wondered about going to gun shows and buying as many POS guns as I could afford for under $50 each and selling them at these buy backs.

      • I dont know if its true but I heard an artist made a bunch of wooden guns painted them black and traded them in

  8. Anti gun lobby”no background check,no gun sale!” Unless of course your the federal government, of course if we did a background check,you would find the obama administration has commited plenty of “felonies” recently, assasinating american citizens, letting guns walk across the border to the drug cartel.

  9. I took great joy in reading how this same lady complained about the allowance of concealed carry on Oregon campuses. She got out and dusted off “streets will run with blood” and the need for “common sense” gun laws.

  10. I’ve attended a few of the buybacks here in Portland, they can be very entertaining to watch. Couple years back, I managed to snag two handguns, A Makarov and a Frommer Stop. $200 for both guns, really enjoyed snatching them away from the smelter.

    The lady running the buyback was rather upset with my actions, and asked me to leave. Rather than make a scene, I took my two handguns and left. It was a fun experience all around.

  11. According to their website an average of 80% of the people killed by guns in Oregon die from self-inflicted suicide.

  12. Why is it that these liberal gun hating and Second Amendment haters do not realize that with the number of home invasions, assaults, gang shooting etc, we NEED to start protecing ourselves. And to you liberals, GUNs do not kill, people kill. Guns do not have a mind. We have a “CONSTTUTIONAL” right to bear arms. Think about it and how many law abiding citizens kill, very few. How many gang members kill or shoot others, PLENTY!!, and they are the majority of those commiting the crimes
    All my brothers and I are gun owners and we lock up our weapons when not in use and they are also there to protect ourselves and we ARE law abiding and NO ONE will take our guns.

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