Another day, another “gun buyback.” I use quote marks because the police conducting these cash-for-guns events didn’t sell the firearms to their owners. So they’re not really buying them back. They’re buying them. No questions asked. Quite why the cops would want to create a black market for firearms—other than political expediency—is beyond me. But not beyond Sgt. Chris Yagelski, the man in charge of Michigan City, Indiana’s annual Get More Buck for Your Bang Gun Drive . . .

“Sgt. Chris Yagelski considered the two-day drive a success,” co-sponsor heraldargus.com reports. “Among the [46] guns received were a 1936 Italian rifle and a 1955 handgun in its original box, which Yagelski said was in ‘pristine condition’ and was probably never even fired. ‘Items like that are far more valuable than the $50 they are getting,’ Yagelski said. ‘That’s what is interesting about the drive and getting guns out of the community.'”

Interesting? Sure. So I called Sgt. Yagelski. Gun enthusiast that I am, I asked him for a little more detail on the not-s0-broken-ass firearms collected by GMGYBGD. The rifle in question is a French made MAS-36. Wikipedia:

The MAS Modèle 36 was a military bolt action rifle. First adopted in 1936 by France and intended to replace the Berthier and Lebel series of service rifles, it saw service past the World War II period. It was manufactured by Manufacture d’armes de Saint-Étienne (MAS), one of several government-owned arms factories in France.

While you could say the MAS is “far more valuable” than $50 you’d be hard-pressed to spend more than $400 on the 7.5×54mm French firing firearm. The ’55 in-box revolver was a Smith & Wesson model 64 Military and Police, the .38 caliber six-shot stainless steel version of the Model 10. Again, it’s not a particularly valuable piece.

Certainly not as valuable as the Tommy Gun that sits amongst the 550 guns on display in the shatter-proof, bullet-proof display permanent display case located in the lobby of the Michigan City police department. Confiscated, unclaimed and purchased guns that avoided the smelter—the fate awaiting the MAS and the Model 64 and all the other guns purchased by the PD over the weekend. Needless to say, Sgt. Yagelski’s got no problem with that.

“It’s a chance to get unwanted and unused guns off the street,” he told TTAG. “Most of the guns come from elderly people who don’t want them anymore.” When I pointed out the logistical fallacy—if the guns are coming from the houses of elderly people they aren’t “on the street”—Yagelski didn’t miss a beat. “The program stops guns that aren’t safely or properly stored from being stolen.”

I asked Sgt. Yagelski if he thought gun buybacks had any appreciable effect on the crime rate. After a bit of prevarication, the policeman asserted that they did, ’cause guns that can’t be stolen can’t be used by criminals, you know, eventually. Which is the main justification for all gun buybacks. But not the only one. Back to heraldargus.com:

Explaining the point of the drive is to keep guns out of unsafe and inexperienced hands, Yagelski said during the drive a woman brought in a loaded, 9 mm handgun that belonged to her late husband. It was still in the holster and she was unsure how to unload it.

Not wanting to be in possession of the dangerous firearm, she drove from Valparaiso to donate the gun during the gun drive.

“That’s the idea. She had no idea even how to unload it, so how dangerous is that in her house?” Yagelski said. “The gun drive is serving its purpose.”

I asked Sgt. Yagelski whether any local person had tried to purchase the guns at the buyback, before their owners exchanged them for Walmart gift cards. He seemed genuinely taken aback. “We don’t allow it,” he stated flatly. Turns out the buyback is held in the police station lobby (in front of that display case) and LaPorte doesn’t allow “soliciting on the street.”

“It is a very worthwhile project and we appreciate everyone’s participation,” Yagelski told the local paper. “As long as there’s a need, we will continue the program.” It’s too bad the firearms themselves aren’t shown the same appreciation.

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53 Responses to Michigan City, Indiana Sgt. Chris Yagelski: Gun Buybacks Reduce Crime

    • Michigan city is indiana, but theirs a reason it called that cause its not like the rest of the state. i feel insulted this guy is slandering the name of our state he needs fired and the mas 36 and model 10 needs sent over to myself, or MAC or down to hicok45 what the hell is wrong with people? lead paint as a baby? at least sell the guns and use the profit to buy the troopers some better armor or something useful. or better yet use them to teach kids about gun safety in school.

        • Private sales are legal in Indiana, but what he was saying is that anyone who stands outside the police station and tries to buy the guns is going to get hit with the city’s no-soliciting ordinance.

    • Terrible to see this seeing as I’m only 30 minutes away from michigan city (I’m after inside Indiana) and to be honest the crime rate in michigan city is about as bad as surrounding areas like the east Chicago areas or south bend or Benton harbor, and yet they have no gun signs everywhere in michigan city.

  1. He does realize that a criminal does not need a gun to commit a crime if the victim was suckered into giving theirs up at a gun buy back, right?

  2. “…during the drive a woman brought in a loaded, 9 mm handgun that belonged to her late husband. It was still in the holster and she was unsure how to unload it.”

    Come on people. Why are we not teaching our wives how to clear our weapons?!?

    • Maybe because they don’t want to learn?
      EEEEEEW, get that ICKY gun away from me or you’re sleeping in the garage…

      • Don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be the one sleeping in the garage.

        I’d fill her spot in bed with my favorite rifle, just to add insult to injury.

        • You’d be surprised what you can accomplish when YOU hold out on your wife.

          That or you’ll find out that your marriage is over, but then why go on living a lie…

        • I agree with you but could you please keep your opinion to yourself it being bad PR and all.

        • It is legal, in self defense. However at no point is it appropriate to resort to violence to resolve a verbal dispute (for either gender).

    • And why didn’t this diligent law enforcement officer arrest her for illegally transporting that loaded pistol concealed in her car? Pretty good bet she does not have a CCW.

    • Well in this case her husband was dead, but the least this women could have done was call a person who knows what to do with guns to deal with it, maybe give it to them, instead of creating a potential disaster where she accidentally shoots a cop in the face with a gun she know jack shit about. I’ve always said the only kind of people that scare me with guns more then those with ill intentions and knowledge to cause havoc is those with no knowledge and no intentions to do so.

  3. Exactly. Guns that don’t exist can’t be stolen. The biggest problem in our “criminals steal guns” rant. Well, if you didn’t have them they couldn’t steal them. Problem is if they really admit to that then there is no “I support the second, but”, rather, we need to remove all civilian owned guns. It is at the end of the day the Fudd mentality, no one needs them and if they’re there they can be stolen and used in crime. So, ultimately the goal of the “but” folks needs to be to limit the absolute number of civilian owned firearms, legal or otherwise, regardless of cosmetic features.

    That said, $400 for a real WWII era French gun (never fired, dropped once)? Don’t care if it shoots or I can get ammo, I want it on my wall for posterity sake. the more they melt the more valuable it will be.

    • The whole problem with the “If there are fewer guns in civilian hands there will be fewer for the criminals to steal and use in their crimes…” argument is that the success of this effort makes the availability of guns to steal more rare and thereby simply increases the risks that criminals are willing to take to find and steal one. Scarcity increases value (Economics 101). Anyone known to have a firearm (including police on the street) will become a target, and anyone willing to risk smuggling to supply the demand will become part of another lucrative criminal enterprise. See: “The law of unintended consequences.”

    • I’m a Hoosier and I’d teach anyone willing to learn about firearms safety for free, no strings attached. Or she could have taken it to the nearest gun store.

      I’m sure most of the guys on here would gladly do the same.

  4. Great point made here:

    Using “buy back” indicates that the possession of the gun is the governments first, then granted to the private citizen, then “bought back.”

    A very, very dangerous way of getting the masses used to that the 2nd Amendment is a privileged granted, not a right exercised.

  5. So, I’m guessing that it’s illegal to bring a gun into the police station. Probably a felony.
    So they can randomly not enforce the law?
    What a crock of crap.

    • The police are generally* not legally obligated to enforce the law in every instance… and I bet you’d be unhappy otherwise.

      * exceptions include domestic violence statutes in some states and judicial orders (warrants, etc), both of which include language that any police officer “SHALL” rather than “May”

    • Actually yes they can chose not to enforce nearly any law. In any city or state you care to name there will be possibly hundreds of laws on the books typically not enforced. At least not until they need to nail some poor sap who refuses to break a real law.

    • It would depend on whether the police station and municipal courts share the same building. They may only prohibit firearms inside public buildings that have a courtroom. The post is confusing about whether this happened in Michigan City or LaPorte and I can’t be bothered to dig deeper.

  6. “It was still in the holster and she was unsure how to unload it.”

    The worst part is, people this stupid are allowed to vote. I mean, how hard is it to use Google, ask someone (friend, Walmart employee in the gun section, call the police department, etc), or even just turn on the TV and watch 90%+ of movies or TV shows?

    • She probably didn’t care because the gun wasn’t any more a part of her life than a curling iron is a part of mine. And if I had one laying around and someone offered to take off my hands for $50, I’d bring it in and let them deal with it from that point.

      • That’s not what the “problem” was. The stated problem is that she didn’t know how to unload it. So an equivalent situation would be you claiming that you don’t know how to turn a curling iron off – and if you were too dumb / lazy to figure it out, I’d also say that it’s scary that you’re allowed to vote.

  7. By comparison, I once repaired a guy’s AR15 while taking his missing person report… not looking for a pat on the back, but I went to armorer school and he needed help. Seemed like the decent thinf to do. If I worked for the sgt in this story, I think I would be fired by now.

  8. Normally when you report something is having an effect you have to quantify it. I am wondering how they quantify that a gun “buy back” is having an effect? Can he show causation that the event is having an effect? A statistically significant correlation? I highly doubt it on any count. This guy must have skipped as many science, statistics and math classes as possible in school. Finger painting and basket weaving must have been his most difficult classes.

  9. What I find most interesting about buybacks is how anti-gunowner activists keep praising the “buybacks” that took place in the UK and Australia, as if those were bigger versions of what they do here. They’re not, of course. What took place in the UK and Australia was actually confiscation with compensation.

    But if you say that to anti-gunowner activists, they will often try to insist that it’s not confiscation if there is compensation. That’s worth remembering when they tell you that they will never confiscate your guns.

  10. I still don’t get these gun buy-ups by local po-po. Anyone should be allowed to come to the station with a firearm and drop it off because they don’t want it anymore, and the cops can sell it or smelt it depending on its condition. Everyone wins…little old ladies with no trigger locks or widows with no gun safety training can feel better. Collectors can purchase pieces of history at police auctions. The department gets funded by something other tax dollars, instead of wasting money to implement an incentive for something that should be free.

  11. it becomes almost impossible for legitimate citizens to buy before the cops do. what they do here for these wankfest buybacks, is have the seller carry the weapon unloaded in their car trunk-no walk ups allowed. then the seller drives into an area that no one but LEOs politicians and media cronies have access to, the weapon is removed and the payment made.

    so questions:

    first, in a state that has in the past and will do in the future, when the cops take the registration lists to confiscate your newly-illegal firearm, how do you prove that you sold your registered weapon at a buyback program when as part of “anonymous” they don’t make receipts?

    second, where is the transparency? what goes on behind the screens? What weapons were confiscated? how many of the valuable pieces end up in chiefs’ and friends personal collections-still unregistered. How many antiques of historical value are unreported by clueless or antagonistic media who may or may not even see the whole program? How do we know the money/gift cards were actually given away according to the buyback rules? If we don’t know exactly what came in, we cannot know what was destroyed. And if we DO know exactly what came in, with serial numbers and etc. then the part of the program claiming “anonymity” becomes a big lie.

    What’s next? a cocaine/crack/weed buyback program?

  12. Who are these stupid people selling cops guns? Most of these buybacks are in rough neighborhoods so it’s almost like a jew in Nazi Germany giving up a firearm they could use to defend themselves to the very people pushing for their demise, the local militarized police force in this case. Of course gun buybacks don’t reduce crime, their formula that it does is based solely on the idea that any gun in their hands and not in ours is a win for everyone. I should do my own gun buyback, post an ad in armslist or the classifieds and set up in my driveway. I don’t see how it could be illegal as private sales are legal. I wonder if it’s been done anywhere yet?

  13. How is enticing a widow with zero firearms experience to travel twenty some odd miles with a loaded 9mm handgun at all advancing any public safety agenda? I know, I know, if she doesn’t have the gun, then it can’t be stolen from her while unsecured. Well.

    Then why close out private buyers from the process who will buy and properly secure the firearms? All that does is deprive experienced, responsible firearms buyers the opportunity to bid on items of interest; meanwhile screwing widows out of their property’s proper value.

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