Image by John Boch.
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In the latest instance of municipal “gun safety” theater, Bloomington, Illinois Police announced that they’d be collecting unwanted and unloved guns at a gun buyback Sunday morning. Thanks in part to TTAG and Guns Save Life publicity along with an assist from local media, they got a big response.

The BPD had a $50,000 grant from the State of Illinois for the even. It lasted less than three dozen cars into a two-mile-long line of cars, each filled with people waiting to grab some holiday cash.

Then again, the do-gooders in Bloomington were paying top dollar for the bottom tier junk most of us brought with us. They must have recognized that all of the advance publicity would made them ripe for fleecing so at the last minute they limited the buyback to four guns per car.

Image by Boch.

I showed up at 8:30 a.m — 90 minutes early — and was vehicle #14 in line. Christian, the guy at the head of the line, told me he showed up at 5:30 a.m. “I couldn’t sleep,” he told me. Excitement kept him awake. He was thrilled to trade some junk for at least $800.

By the 10:00 a.m. start time, the line of cars waiting to go inside the firehouse to sell their unloved iron to the police had grown to two miles.

Image by Chad Berck. Used with permission.

While I waited two hours after the start of the event to get into the building to do business, a very pleasant sergeant told me they were burning through cash like mad. “It’s insane.”  The first six vehicles through each tagged them for at least $800. Many left with well over $1000.

BPD was paying $200 for conventional guns, $400 for ghosties and $500 for so-called “assault” guns. Given that they used the definitions in the new so-called “Protect Illinois Communities Act,” getting $500 per gat proved rather easy.

A lot of us showed up with the intent to use Rule #4 of Alinski’s Rules for RadicalsMake the enemy live up to its own book of rules.

While waiting to get in, I passed out some issues of this month’s GunNews Magazine and found that a lot of people recognized me. I even recognized some of them. One of them named Eric showed me his “ghost gun.” It was basically a 12 gauge zip gun that he put in a box decorated for the season and the event.

Image by Eric, used with permission

We shared a good laugh. Sadly, they didn’t buy his creative effort to get $400, but he said the box made them laugh out loud.

Sadly, the other GSL member with donated guns for the organization who was about twenty cars behind me had to bail after waiting for four hours.

A lot of folks wanted to know what was taking so long. Others were upset there were no bathroom facilities available. For whatever reason, the cops were very protective of the facility. The officers weren’t allowing people into the building to use the restrooms or to get out of their cars for any reason once inside. Maybe they were worried about getting robbed of all that donated cash.

Image by Boch

Overall, the Bloomington officers ranged from supremely courteous to downright nice, including a former neighbor of mine who recent moved to a small town nearby.  One gent balked at calling two of the guns I sold as “assault” guns, but I pointed out the threaded muzzle on the handgun made it a prohibited gun under the Protect Illinois Communities Act and the barrel shroud did the same for a rifle.

He looked up the relevant section on his phone and came back a couple of minutes later with crisp $100 bills.

Processing vehicles at an average speed of one every ten minutes made for a lot of irritated people. Especially for the two hundred-plus vehicles who waited for hours in line only to be turned away when the sponsors ran out of cash. The early birds Sunday were the only ones to get the worms.

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39 COMMENTS

  1. I went to observe at a “buy-back” at my county’s courthouse years ago. One thing I observed that should have been noticed by the police and stopped, was that several characters (not any of official status) were walking back and forth on the line of people and asking and looking at the arms the citizens were turning in for the money. While I observed that these men did reject many firearms, I did see them buy several guns, mostly higher quality handguns. After walking to their vehicle to deposit their purchase, back to the line they went to “shop” some more. I have no idea where those guns went from there or were used for what purpose.

    • Assuming private sales were legal in that state, no laws were broken and there’s nothing wrong with this. They were individuals who were looking for bargains.

      Sounds like they were scouting for people who didn’t know what they had and were willing to pay them more than the “buyback” would have given the owners. Good on them. No harm, no foul.

    • Brad,

      I was one such person at such an event. The event sponsors were paying $50 for handguns. One gentlemen had a gently used 1920s vintage top-break revolver (chambered in .22 LR) which was in very good condition. I offered him $75 for that revolver and he was happy to get the extra $25 over the $50 that the event would have paid him.

      That revolver functions normally and is still in my collection. Best part: no one has used that revolver in any crimes.

      • And it truly is a ‘ghost’ gun, the very best kind. Legally bought, and the seller had no idea who you were. Serialized at the factory, and utterly untraceable back to you. That gun is double-valuable. Pass it down wisely… 🙂

    • Local PD did it here too with the same result. They shut it down and said that the people buying the guns were not breaking any laws. I love it! SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!

    • I might have been one of those people. In the earlier days of these buybacks many people showed up with truly historic and valuable guns that they were going to be paid a pittance for and then those irreplaceable guns were going to be destroyed. A number of us attended many of these buybacks. In fact, when preparing to attend this buyback, my wife groaned and asked how many guns we were bringing home. This time we simply sold worthless junk for the money.

  2. The Headline should have been – “Bloomington Police Fail to take 100’s of guns off the streets due to lack of funding and planning”. Since the average cost to incarcerate a criminal in Illinois is around $37,000 per year not including arrest, court costs and the costs to society of just one murder, it is completely irresponsible that the Bloomington Police Dept. missed a golden opportunity to literally let 150 car loads of guns slip through their fingers. The extra estimated $120,000 ($800 per car) in “Buy Back” money is less than the cost of 2 officers salaries of $78,375 a year. People should be asking for the Chief of Police to resign over this incompetence, as everyone knows guns commit crimes, not people and this missed opportunity will likely lead to the deaths of many Bloomington residents. If the police can’t get guns off the streets when they are delivered to them on a silver platter, why do we need police in the first place.

    “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

    • “It’s a leftist idiotic idea and plan. Stupid and a failure,…”

      Wrong, old, junk guns were turned into brand-new guns. Not a failure in the least… 🙂

  3. Hmm, $200, $400 and $500? Ok. $50,000 budget. So, at most 50,000/200 = 250 guns “off the street”. At least, 50,000/500 = 100 guns “off the street”. If the types of guns are uniformly distributed, 50,000/((200+400+500)/3) = 136 guns off the street. That’s it! a couple hundred guns, maybe.

    Why do people do these things? I mean, I’m glad they are giving money to people like Guns Save Lives but, seriously, what do they think the impact of 100 or 200 or, maybe, 250 guns being taken out of circulation is actually going to be? My LGS has more guns then that on its shelves right now and it is not all that large a shop. This is the mother of meaningless gestures. I’m sure John Boch would like the suggestion I’m about to make: Give $50,000 to Guns Save Lives and have a much bigger positive impact on society and public safety in IL.

    • “Why do people do these things?”

      It makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside, while accomplishing nothing substantial.

      If they want to waste their money like that, God bless ’em, each and every one… 😉

    • They take down your name and address and if they cant do that run your license plate,that gives them everything they need to know.
      You’ve shown up to get rid of your assualt weapons, ghost gunms, but they’ve ran out of money to buy them, however they will put you on the list.

  4. A limit of “4 guns per car”?

    How many innocent lives have now been endangered by these shortsighted attitudes?

  5. On the plus side, a small number of citizens managed to recoup some of the outrageous taxes they have paid over the years. Would I trade some scrap iron for cash from Uncle Sam? Darn right I would!!

    I’ve never heard of, nor do I anticipate a “buy back” in Arkansas. Or, down the road in Texas, either.

    • I actually have been to a gun “buyback” in Arkansas, about 25 years ago.

      I went to college there (GO HOGS!) and, while I was in school I sold a friend a gun (A Mauser, I needed the cash). A few years later, I bought it back from him. TaDa, an actual gun buyback happened one fine spring day in Fayetteville.

  6. One of my buddies wanted to take his junk guns to the local “buy back”. I discouraged him strongly and he later thanked me because the news later reported that the ATF was there writing down license plates.

    • I know, right. How many more people went home thinking, “Gun buybacks are BS,” than went home thinking, “Whew, more murder-death-kill machines destroyed?” Win for the POTG in my book.

  7. I believe Numrich Arms will buy your gunms.
    A much better cause even if you dont get the promised buy back money.
    A police force saying they are buying back my gunm just dont sound right to me. I’ve bought from Gold&Silver, Froggleys, 620 Gunms and Emu but never have I bought a gunm from Labette county sherriff’s office. How can they buy it back?

  8. Bloomington needs a Fire Chief with a pair. Any Chief worth a damn would have thrown the popo out of his firehouse.

    Cops – Fire/Oil – Water

  9. 1. City performs Gun Buybacks.
    2. Criminals steal guns.
    3. Criminals bring stolen guns next buyback.

    Anyone else seeing how this may lead to more gun crime?

    • It ain’t Chicago but it’s still ILLANNOY. It’s what they do. “Doing something” for the children😧

  10. A group of us ‘trolled’ an anti-gun group buy-back so bad once that an anti-gun member had a heart attack. It was a small turn out, we were offering cash money (more than the gift cards they were offering at $50.00) for any gun they wanted to turn in that wasn’t a rusted out non-functional piece of junk. It was on public property. We bought the guns before they got to the tables, went right down their line and handed out cash.

    It pissed them off so bad, they tried to have the cops remove us and cops said ‘Nope, no laws being broken.’ … so then they tried to block us physically so we told the people in line to come and see us where were were parked and they did. Then they kept stomping over to us yelling and screaming and demanding and accusing, lots of red faces and anger and hand waving and pointing from them. We just smiled and kept buying guns. It stressed one of the anti-gun so badly they actually had a heart attack, then the buy back ended.

    We collectively bought 91 guns that day at an average of $100.00 per gun. Ran the serial numbers courtesy of the sheriffs department, all were good to go. Took the .22’s and donated them to a kids summer camp for their firearms instruction, kept maybe one or two for ourselves, sold the rest and donated the money to charity and sent some flowers to the heart attack anti-gun person.

  11. If these “gun buy backs” are so “sucessful”, how come we still have mass shootings?

    It seems rather than going aftere the criminal element and the mentally ill, the Left would rather throw money at a problem. After all, that always (sic) works.

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