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The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office in San Jose, CA held a gun surrender event last Friday. The event netted “nearly” 200 firearms – a meager amount of guns for such a large population center. reports that one owner turned in 47 firearms. I can’t find any photographs of the confiscated firearms. We could speculate all day long about pre-war Colt and  Smith & Wesson revolvers, WWII trophy Lugers and WWI Webleys, classic Browning Auto-5 hunting shotguns and Remington pump .22 rifles. But the more important point is that . . .

Gun surrender events do not reduce crime or violence with guns. They exist because they’re useful as political propaganda, sending a message to the uniformed that “guns are bad and should be turned in to police.”

Gun surrender events are also expensive. According to the San Jose “buy back” paid $45k to anonymous gun owners. The cash came from the nonprofit FIRST 5 Santa Clara County and the sheriff’s office’s asset forfeiture fund. Money which could have gone to effective crime reduction efforts. Money which does not cover the “buy back’s” administrative costs (e.g., the officers’ salaries and/or overtime).

This picture shows some of the long guns turned in at a Phoenix event in Arizona. Arizona and several other states have passed laws requiring these valuable assets be sold instead of destroyed, as they are in California.

I have seen all sorts of important or, at the least, perfectly serviceable guns at “buy backs,” usually surrendered by ignorant widows who did not know the value of what they were disposing of, getting pennies on the dollar for valuable artifacts, in order to make political theater for people who would remove their right to keep and bear arms in the first place.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

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  1. Dang, wish I had heard about that…I could have gotten $200 for my old beat up SKS “assault rifle”?

    Oh well.

    • I wonder if you could buy and turn in weapons cheap enough to make major money off of these events….

      • yep, beater ravens and 22 pistols, even some old single shots. and i have heard a few guys making zip guns to sell at those events.

      • A couple years ago an acquaintance of mine went to a buyback where they were offering $20 each for ‘high capacity’ magazines. He had a bunch of aluminum 20 rd G3 mags that he paid about $1 a piece for years ago. Needless to say, he made quite a bit of money off of them, putting it towards a new AR build. Personally I won’t have anything to do with these events, giving them propaganda victories and all, but savvy individuals can and do profit from them.

      • There’s some Illinois gun training group that turns in broken old guns to fund their instruction and ammo bill.

        I think TTAG had a story about it a while back.

        • Illinois’ John Boch and Guns Save Life

          They use the generated money to support their youth training programs

        • I was thinking the same thing and was going to bring them up. That group dumped their broken junk and ended up with money to buy ammo for their program.

      • The easiest way to make money at one of these events is to “turn in” stolen guns or ones that you have already used in a crime. That’s what most people do.

        • Should have thought of that. After I’m through committing a crime with a gun, I usually throw it in a deep lake!

      • My LGS has a beat-to-crap, missing parts Turkish Mauser for $80 sitting in a corner. If there was a buy-back around here I’d think hard about picking it up, keeping the bolt and scrap – er, “turn in” – the rest.

  2. I paid 4 times what they are offering to buy my pistal y would I sell it to the oboma administration so they can use them against us not happening they will pry it from my cold dead fingers

  3. perfectly serviceable guns at “buy backs,” usually surrendered by ignorant widows who did not know the value of what they were disposing

    Beauty fades, dumb is forever.

  4. Absolute fact, Buy-Backs are political theater, nothing more. The headlines are always the same which boast of x number of guns off the streets, we are safer now! Bullshit, and anyone with half a brain knows this. Buy-Backs should not even be legal given the anonymous turn-in process. Non-used or unwanted guns should go back to an FFL or manufacturer where they are either determined as scrap and destroyed or valued and resold, the owner and FFL make a private agreement, simple and legal.

    Bottom line: Buy-Backs are BS.

  5. Women who turn in such private property for little or no compensation should have their Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid payments docked by the Blue Book value of the guns involved.

    These women were stupid enough to give away valuable personal property that they could have converted to cash, with which they could have paid for their personal needs.

    • My wife says she’s gonna put everything I own out on the sidewalk, maybe even before I take the “dirt nap”, if not, the day after!

      • Be sure you send us your address if you have any life threatening medical issues. In order to prevent your wife pulling a muscle or hurting her back we at TTAG would help her carry stuff out. We could also offer nice places in our safes for any homeless firearms.

  6. I never hear about any gun surrender events in my area until after the fact. I have a collection of genuine rusty crap that I’d like to turn into money to be used for something decent made in this century.

    • Now wait just a minute, Joe. I just bought a used Swiss K31 in excellent shape that was manufactured the same year I was born – 1948. It’s a tack-driver at 100 yds. When I got done refinishing and slightly modifying the stock, you couldn’t really tell it from a new rifle.

  7. The hosts of the event are the ‘Board of Supervisors’ and the Santa Clara County Sheriff. Both are knwon for rampant cronyism and corruption.
    Move along citizen, nothing to see here.

  8. When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

    When cops have buy-back programs, only cops will be outlaws.

  9. Gun buybacks have been going on for decades; no change in crime in those neighborhoods. At some point you would think it was obvious that, absent morality and family values, the police themselves are the ones most capable of reducing crime. The current situations in the big cities proves it, and shines a light on the ridiculous environmentalist myth of “lead induced crime.” But as it is, they can never admit that these events have nothing other than symbolic meaning. Crime is still too high in those neighborhoods to claim any victory, so they must be able to point to a table full of rusty old hunting rifles as if to say “see, we’re trying! There’s just TOO MANY OF THEM!” It’s like how socialism has been tried a hundred times, with a billion victims, but has always failed, while balls out capitalism has been tried exactly once, with astounding success; liberals will point to the pile of rusty old coins and say “SEE! SOMEBODY STILL OWNED SOMETHING! WE DIDN’T TRY HARD ENOUGH!”

  10. “D.W. Doesn’t Like Gun “Buy Backs””

    Ignoring the fact that they’re not “buy backs”, does ANY PotG like them?

    • Well, there are some gun owners who use them to “get rid” of any so-called guns they bought for $50 with the sole purpose of turning them in for $100

  11. I have this old Davis Intl. .380 POS that I *cough* found. On top of being as ugly as a stump full of spiders, it’s other charm is it doesn’t work. Fails to feed.

    Perfect fodder for a buy-back!

  12. Gun buy backs are perfect for criminals too. Criminal breaks in your home and steals 5 guns? That’s an instant $500 with no questions asked at the gun buyback. Criminal promotion right here.

    Also – it’s great to make money from the local tax payers. Got a non-functional garbage rust bucket? Get $100 for it courtesy of the local tax payers.

  13. Anyone else see that they pay $100 for a firearm, but will pay $200 for an “assault weapon”?

    Two hundred dollars for a weapon that you can commit assault with? Baseball bat? Brass knuckles? Knitting needles? Dangerously shaped toaster pastry?

  14. I was advised to buy used Hi-points and save ’em up for Chiraq buybacks-by a pawnbroker.

  15. Gun Buy Backs are vital to the Socialist Soviet State of Oceania as it lays down a new term in Newspeak. This term is promoting the concept that guns are merely privileges granted to mere Proles temporarily and that the guns are never really private property, but rather the real commonwealth property of the Ing Soc Soviet State of Oceania. The guns were never the property of the purchasers, but rather the Soviet Socialist State.

  16. What? No (inert) rocket launchers this time? Where is Mayors Against Oversized Paperweights when you need them?

  17. I remember the buy backs downunder in the 1990s. I heard of a lot of junk being surrendered and people paid out huge money. Many people used the money from the buy backs to purchase new legal firearms.

    A friend of mine handed in a AR15 SP1 and was paid for a AR15 A2 HBAR, which was $5000.

    I was paid about $4500 for a SP1 with spare parts and magazines (3x 30 rd @ $100 ea and 5x 20rd @ $60 ea).

    I knew someone who would attend the instant payout buy back locations with ersatz creations of Garand receivers with press fitted SMLE barrels attached to something resembling a stock, and getting paid about $700+ each.

    A Norinco M14 was worth about $2000 in the buy back. US made M14s and M1As were handed in for about $3000+.

    In many cases the buy-back prices were way over the value of the items being handed in.

  18. From the text:

    They exist because they’re useful as political propaganda, sending a message to the uniformed that “guns are bad and should be turned in to police.”

    Not sure if you were trying to say “uninformed” or if you were being clever and saying the message is intended for the uniformed police.

  19. People who think California is not a lost cause should consider this simple statement that sums up California’s “guns are evil in the hands of citizen. Period.” approach:

    “This picture shows some of the long guns turned in at a Phoenix event in Arizona. Arizona and several other states have passed laws requiring these valuable assets be sold instead of destroyed, as they are in California.”

  20. Gun buyback? They didn’t sell me the gun in the first damned place. How the fuck is this buying it back? It’s not so different from plain ol’ compensated confiscation.

  21. Not to mention the equivalent here in canuckistan also destroys many collectable and good firearms instead of letting the law abiding obtain them. The law is so stupid they can’t even auction them off and put the proceeds of such a stupid stunt to good use. ~_~


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