'Guns Save Life' Uses Chicago Gun Buyback To Send Kids To NRA Gun Camp. Again.
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Guns Save Life loves Chicago’s gun buybacks. Three times in the past dozen years or so, the scrappy Illinois gun rights group has sold rusty junk to Chicago’s taxpayers, then used the proceeds to send young people to an NRA summer shooting camp. Saturday, Guns Save Life pulled it off again.

Yes, we took our junk deep into the heart of Rahm’s Paradise by the Lake and brought home perfectly good cash cards. Not only that, but a Chicago Police Department sergeant banned me from ever again participating in a gun buyback.

Six years ago, Guns Save Life scored a grand slam at Chicago’s then-annual “Don’t Kill A Dream, Save A Life” gun “turn-in” event. Not only did GSL bring home over $6,000, but the delicious irony of using a “buyback” to fund kids attending an National Rifle Association camp brought widespread international publicity to GSL. At the same time, it gave Mayor Emmanuel’s city-wide gun buyback events a major black eye.

In fact, GSL’s success in 2012 ended the program where the city spent upwards of a million dollars it didn’t have to “buy back” something the city never owned. What’s more, the Mayor and his minions claimed the buybacks rid the community of unwanted guns. Maybe so.

Yesterday, in a scaled back event with Chicago offering $100 per gun — no questions asked — GSL returned. While a supervisor refused to accept all eleven of the guns my pregnant bride and I offered to the program, other intrepid GSL members met with more success. All told, we came home with quite a haul. I’m still not done opening all of the envelopes.

'Guns Save Life' Uses Chicago Gun Buyback To Send Kids To NRA Gun Camp. Again.

As for the guns we “surrendered,” many looked like they dated from the Prohibition era. Or before. Even the ones that didn’t require a hammer to open the action may have looked good but they lacked functionality. Meanwhile, a few others fired now-obsolete cartridges back when they actually did work.

While most of the guns we gave them wouldn’t shoot, they would make great stick-up guns. At least until the user stuck up someone who’s carrying a real gun.

'Guns Save Life' Uses Chicago Gun Buyback To Send Kids To NRA Gun Camp. Again.

In the end, while we weren’t able to unload all sixty-plus guns we carted up to the Windy City, we did well. Very well.

What I saw

My wife and I showed up right at 10am, when the event opened. Already, dozens of folks stood in line. At the same time, Chicago police officers milled about in force. We felt very safe in a marginal neighborhood thanks to Chicago’s finest.

A couple of the officers had tac vests that identified them as being from the “Superintendent’s Office.” One gold star also sat inside. A neatly-dressed guy’s ID labelled him from the press relations or something similar. I avoided him.

Interestingly, this was the first Windy City buyback where at least a couple of cops looked skilled handling guns. In the past, oftentimes the officers looked as skilled at opening various actions as in solving a Rubik’s Cube.


'Guns Save Life' Uses Chicago Gun Buyback To Send Kids To NRA Gun Camp. Again.

After waiting outside for about twenty minutes (and being filmed by NBC5 Chicago), I finally got a peek inside.  The cops had everyone sitting in a big room, waiting. And waiting.

'Guns Save Life' Uses Chicago Gun Buyback To Send Kids To NRA Gun Camp. Again.

The big guy with the brand new LA Police Gear Tactical Pants appeared to be in charge. His vest indicated that he too hailed from the Superintendent’s Office. (For what it’s worth, 5.11 pants may cost more, but they wear more comfortably. And your backup piece doesn’t bang against your knee if you carry it in the cargo pocket. Hence, my LAPG pants are now relegated to lawn mowing.)

Most guns turned in, and the people turning them in, were typically quite old seasoned. Often the guns had as much rust as their owners had grey hair.

This time I saw some decent guns among the endless parade of revolvers people surrendered. One, a round-butt Smith & Wesson K-frame looked to be in really good shape, dropped off by a well-to-do looking African American woman.

Twenty minutes later, a Caucasian couple turned in a bolt-action centerfire rifle in good condition, a second scoped bolt gun, possibly a rimfire, and a semi-auto Browning Auto 5 (or a knockoff). Any one of those three guns would probably fetch $300 on consignment at any local gun shop.

At the same time, I saw a never-ending string of old revolvers, rusty .22 rifles and break-open, single-shot shotguns.  Someone brought in a Bersa semi-auto in its box. One person brought about twenty pounds of ammo along with their two handguns.

'Guns Save Life' Uses Chicago Gun Buyback To Send Kids To NRA Gun Camp. Again.

And meet Sgt. Dickerson, the guy picking up a box full of guns. Sgt. Dickerson stopped the whole process when he overheard that I had eleven guns. He pulled me outside and said, and I quote, “This event is for the neighborhood, not outsiders.”

He didn’t know my name or where I lived. However, as a white person, I was in the minority in the lower income, African-American neighborhood.

He continued:  “We’ll take two of those, but you’re gonna have to take the rest back to your car. Or you can take them all home with you.”

So I got my two $100 VISA cards. As I walked out, I stopped to take a photo of the table where they worked to identify make, model, caliber and serial numbers of the guns turned in. Sgt. Dickerson didn’t like that.

“YOU!  Come with me!” he barked.

We walked outside. He explained that I could not take photos inside.

I replied:  “But this is a public place and a public event. Nobody has a reasonable expectation of privacy here.”

“No, this is a private event and the people in there don’t want their pictures taken,” he gruffly shot back at me.

“So what about the TV cameras?” I asked calmly.

“They have permission! Look. You cannot come back to one of these ever again. Don’t ever let me catch you coming back again,” Sgt. Dickerson said sternly. I wondered if this is what black folks felt like back when cops explained their local Sundown laws to them.

The look on my face must have expressed my thoughts clearly, or Sgt. Dickerson had ESP. “Or what?” I thought.

After a pause, he continued:  “If I catch you at one of these events again, you will be turned away.”

“You mean like last time when I got turned away because I was the wrong color?” I thought to myself.

I tried not to even grin. “Yes, sir,” I said solemnly. “Am I free to go?”

And he sent me on my way. He didn’t even ask for my name.

Minutes later, after collecting packets of envelopes from my fellow GSL members, the wife and I passed the front door. I slowed long enough to thank the officers out front and we drove home.

So, thank you Rahm. We enjoyed doing business with you and your minions. Better still, Mr. Mayor, you can feel good knowing you’re helping to educate the next generation of gun owners in the Prairie State.

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  1. That is a great idea! Don’t know how I missed it the first time around. Think I’ll talk to my friends about. Start gathering up some fodder. Leftist Hellahassee has those buy backs occasionally.

  2. This is how we should be handling buybacks! Rather than yell and scream at the sky, take your old junk nobody makes parts or ammo for anymore, turn it in, and use that cash/giftcard to fund 2A activism or buy your kiddo their first 22 with.

    While you’re doing that might I suggest the Savage Rascal? $153.00 now and comes with that outstanding Accutrigger in a stock sized for most 5-7 year olds; the rifle is also already drilled and tapped for a scope mount if that peep sight isn’t your thing. My middle kid loves his and uses it quite frequently to dispatch his old broken dinosaur toys in simulated dino hunts. Once he out grows it, I’ll probably put it up somewhere for him to give his kids when they need their first introduction to firearms.

  3. No questions asked…wasn’t that supposed to be the rule?
    Wonder if they recycle the guns back into the community for the next show…so somebody else can get their $100.
    Only another 100,000+ to go…

  4. I’ve got a POS .25acp I’m holding onto for a gun buy courtesy of the state. I’m sure I’ll get more than the 20 bucks it’s worth. I’ve never fired it and never plan to.

  5. Hmmm…. sorry I missed this… I’ve got an old sporterized mosin POS sitting in my safe just waiting for this sort of event. Not really worth the time or money to restore it once the rear sight base had been taken off.

    • Strip the action out of the stock, sell it. A barreled Mosin action with bolt is surprisingly valuable.

      • Somebody de-soldered and removed the rear sight base… Not even sure if the gun is safe to shoot anymore. Seems ok, and the original owner clearly shot it, but I’m not putting my face behind that action.

    • Why we always hear about these after the fact?
      My friend has bunch of old rusty broken revolvers. When he asked me if I can fix any od them I suggested that the sells them to the city of Chicago in one of those “buy backs”. Only he doesn’t know when and where they are held.

    • Well it is Chiraq… Democratic administrations that have been in power for 80 years tend to attract the corrupt, lazy, and/or incompetent.

  6. 5.11 pants may cost more, but my LAPG pants are the ones I wear every day. All depends on what fits you and the style you order. Also, I don’t have to worry about someone grabbing my “utility strap”.

    • Gotta love the “brand whores”. 5.11…blah blah blah. His beer probably won’t get cold unless it’s in a yeti.

  7. Will CPD even try to match any of their daily take with murder weapons they may be looking for?

  8. If there had been video or audio of the interactions between GSL and the cops, I would hope GSL would appeal for funds to sue the CPD for intimidation, and abuse of power under color of law.

    GSL – go to the next by, with a videographer, and see what happens.

  9. My local pawn shop guy told me he saves up Hipoints and the like for the “buyback”…did I hear your wife is expecting?!? Congrats! 29 years today with my bride.

  10. Hmmm…

    I wonder if they will take stripped lowers?

    JoeBob Outfitter recently had a sale on New Frontier Armory polymer lower … $40 I think … free shipping if you buy enough, but $15 per for the transfer fee, so it’s $55/lower … Hmm, that’s ($100 – $55)/$55 = 82% profit. And not too far off that for forged aluminum these days. If there’s ever an event near me, it might be a decent time to “upgrade” some of the ARs…

  11. On another note, “Sgt. Dickerson, the guy picking up a box full of guns” and is going to wind up with a bad back if he keeps lifting like that.

    I also had to wonder … if you’re just sitting there, what’s the chance someone is doing facial recognition? After all, they have access to the IL DMV database. No questions asked, perhaps, but it’s quite possible they will know who you are before you leave, even if you don’t tell them.

  12. Well, whatever, but I wish I could take a look at that CZ82 and all those old mid-priced top-breaks and make sure there’s not a good service-life or two left between them. Maybe get a Franken-32 (or 22) out of it.

    • I saw the CZ too and it looks like the loaded magazine is next to it. At the very least, if the mag is original, I’d take it.

      • All part of the theater, my friend. The mag was for a Bryco or something similar. Threw some ancient 9mm JHPs in there so they might think they really had something.

        • Gotcha. After struggling with shitty aftermarket mags for my CZ 82, I was hoping that wasn’t a factory mag laying there.

  13. May I suggest that you obtain a Complaint Register Number on the Sergeant for threatening and intimidating a citizen at a public function. Perhaps other constitutional offenses may also be included. A CR number can be optained over the telephone simply by calling the Chicago Police Civilian Office of Police Accountably at 312–742-COPA. This type of abhorrent behavior belittles all police officers everywhere and indicates an individual who cannot serve the public. This is especially important if you were left with a feeling that your race may have been factor in how you were treated by the officer. It is necessary that people speak up about their negative experiences directly to the departments involved.

    • You just don’t get it, do you? This is not a “gun buy back,” it is an attempt to strip older black Chicagoans of their firearms. In other words, it is a political event for the benefit of the south side, to show then that Rahm really cares. “Wealthy” whites not welcome.

      • Mark,
        You simply fail to understand that, as written, the comments were directed to the person who was victimized by the police and not to some presumed larger scale of politics. You further fail to comprehend that police are actually limited as to their authority and that they, the police, are subservient to the people, no matter the race of the abused. When a police officer steps beyond their official capacity they suppress all of us, not just black, white, or brown, but all Americans. There is no hierarchy of citizenship in this matter. If you possess some further knowledge of the actual intent of the sponsors of the event please articulate it instead of insinuating it.

        • This is a good point- there absolutely is a political benefit to making this an issue. “CHICAGO PD REFUSES GUNS IN GUN BUYBACK DUE TO ‘WHITENESS'”. But the bigger issue that I see is that a man with a badge told a law-abiding citizen to get lost.

  14. I wouldn’t be turning in anything to these Communist Party thugs of Chicago, Illinois (Cook County)!
    No. While the intent to raise funds for kids to attend an NRA camp may be benevolent as far as
    pro-gun/Second Amendment free thinking people may go, these “turn in guns for cash scam” are
    not! These are designed to condition an already dumbed down ignorant public to surrendering not
    only their firearms, but likewise their soul, birthright, dignity, and identity to the almighty socialist
    nanny state! This anti-gun deceit is predicated upon class warfare! Too, merchants who prostitute
    themselves to this vile racket are like Dicks Sporting Goods: traitors to the republic and rightly deserve
    to be picketed and boycotted! This is reminiscent of a 1918 Bolshevik Propaganda Poster brainwashing,
    indoctrinating, and urging, if not ordering by decree, the peasant masses to surrender their guns, knives,
    sharpened farming implements to the murderous Cheka: the original Soviet Secret Police under Lenin
    circa 1918 and the Red Terror which followed.

  15. I thought the intent of these events was to get guns off the street…and yet they turned you out into the street with NINE GUNS?

    Hypocrites and bastards, all of ’em!

    • “Life” is singular, individual, understandable without much thinking. “Lives” is plural, group, others I don’t know, statistics.

    • Yes. I bothers me a LOT! Apparently they don’t have any PR or marketing people on staff who could correct that?

  16. Gunz do not save lives, it’s the individual behind the trigger that does the saving. And as far as buybacks, buybacks I can’t even register that, Fuckem,. it’s not like your feeding a horse

  17. Why doesn’t the NRA do some gun buy backs. Instead of all these guns getting destroyed they can be refurbished through a program to teach people to be armorers and sold through mom and pop guns stores? Instead of complaining be a better solution.

    • Because that would cut into the bottom line. The NRA needs every dollar it can to pay Wayne and crew those millions for “protecting” (i.e. giving away) our right a little at a time.

    • I appreciate your goal, but it’s simply neither feasible or worthwhile.

      So you’re going to pour your valuable time and parts into restoring a hundred-plus year old break-top revolver or single-shot shotgun into an ugly, but firing hundred year old clunker? My time’s worth a damn sight more than that.

    • I come at this from the opposite direction. When I learn of a “gun buyback”, I hit the ATM for some cash and head to the party. I get a vantage point where I can see folks headed in and take a gander at what they’re selling. And if it’s a little jewel (some are) I simply offer a few bucks more than the “buyback” hucksters are paying. I’ve come away with a few treasures this way. Afterwards I always make sure that the guns aren’t on a stolen list or are otherwise wanted by police; so far, I’ve never bought anything in that category.

      Neither have I been hassled by police, security or whomever for conducting my own “buyback”, and there are no laws that pertain. However, a few other folks have picked up on the idea and I now occasionally find some competition. Let the bidding begin…

      It gets better though. I was living and traveling in Nicaragua when the communists were booted out of power. The new government wanted to disarm the folks who had been fighting the good fight, and they offered the princely sum of $50–that’s right, FIFTY BUCKS–for turned-in weapons, regardless of weapon type (with one exceptions, the Browning .50 BMG Mad Deuce, $1,200). We’re talking some primo firearms and other items: AK-47’s. M-16’s. FAL’s, HK-G3’s. And others too many to list here and all select-fire. There were a number of grenades, mines, rocket launchers and miscellaneous hardware, and the same $50 applied.

      Anyway, I told some Nica friends about US gun buybacks and my purchases at them, and they headed to Managua where they did the exact same thing, only with much better results! I would have loved to partake but didn’t want to risk a Nicaraguan prison, where even the cockroaches commit suicide.

      In sum, I look at these “buyback” schemes as the buying opportunities they are. I break no laws and I’m simply providing a public service getting those mean guns off the streets.

    • I have a pair of top break revolvers in 32 S&W short and 38 S&W. You can order the ammo online, but it’s really not worth it because the guns are terrible quality.

  18. Hey, I got a question. And not a snarky one, either. Are these buy backs not firearm transfers? How can no questions be asked if handgun transfers are mandated to be done through FFLs? Is there a federal (or state) exemption/loophole for “buy backs”? Universal background checks should apply to transfers at buy backs, right?

    • There’s a LOT of winking and nodding going on at these events.

      They’re buying guns without a license. Ignoring waiting periods prescribed by law. Without the necessary record-keeping, and so forth.

      And then we find out some of the guns turned in end up at crime scenes down the road.

      It’s Chicago. It runs on corruption.

  19. Chicago complains about cities and states having less than their perfect firearm laws that allow evil guns to invade their shining bit of heaven on earth. BUT when honest citizens bring in those filthy unclean firearms to the shining beacon of Chicago for a gift card they are banned?
    Chicago wants to demand how every where else sells firearms while selectively buying firearms back on the seller’s race? Can we say non progressive racist? Shocked he didn’t call you a Saltine.

  20. Even though we know the truth behind all of this and that these buy backs do nothing to actually get guns off the streets from criminals and gang bangers, the officer turning you and your guns away like that obviously show that there is an agenda behind this. If this were ‘truly’ about getting as many guns off the street as they can and caring for people’s safety then they wouldn’t be turning any gun away at a “no questions asked” buy back. They need to be called out in a big way on this! We need to start speaking up more and play their game because you absolutely know that if this were the other way around all hell would breaking loose, we need to start giving them a taste of their own medicine.

  21. there are a couple GSL signs along I74 that have been vandalized either pushed over or words scraped off. I was planning on taking a couple rattle cans next time I go along there to touch them up

  22. imagine that, getting racially profiled by a black person in “power”. its almost as if black people are no better than the rest of us. but that can’t be it.

  23. I am no expert but I am terrified when I watch many LEO’s pick up a firearm or collect it temporarily at a traffic stop (for the owners safety of course :/ )
    Many fumble with the magazine release, point the firearm into crowds, wrestle with the slide, and even put their finger on the trigger. Truly horrifying.

    • You’re not an expert yet you’ve “seen” this occur so many times? Please enlighten us with your credentials

  24. The best and most evident positive result of any gun buy-back” program I have seen yet. Very nicely done, GSL.

  25. Where one wonders are all those civil rights lawyer types? Oh pardon me, I forgot this stunt took place in Chicago.


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