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Los Angeles police hosted another gun turn-in event on Saturday. Experts agree that these events have no measurable effect on crime, suicides, or accidents. California is one of the last few places where such events still occur without competition from private buyers. Private buyers offer higher values for the antiques that are often brought in by widows or other heirs, people who don’t know the value of the items that they’re handing over . . .


“I wanted them out of my house,” explained Lynne Emile.
Her husband died three years ago and she dusted around two hand guns ever since – a burden she chose to get rid of.

You can see some classic handguns that were dropped off in the picture above. A 1911 type with an early green Teflon type finish.  It’s probably worth about $500. The finish was a custom job popular in the 1980’s and later.

There are two classic Colt revolvers that seem to be in excellent condition. One is a Detective Special, the other, an early Officer’s Model. They are worth about $600 and $1,200 respectively, far more than the $100 gift card that was received.

It’s hard to say what other treasures there might be under the jumble of inexpensive imports from the 1960’s. I see at least one decent Smith & Wesson.

I believe this is another image of the Colt Officer’s Model on the top of  pile in the bin:

A number of long guns were also turned in. You can see some of them on the display table.

The AR-15 type rifles are worth about $600 each and an alert reader believes the scoped handgun on the left to be a Freedom Arms single action, valued at over $2,000. There is another 1911 type above the Freedom Arms scoped revolver.

There were, of course, a couple of “illegal” guns turned in. The short barreled shotgun shown below is likely illegal. They were made illegal by the infamous National Firearms act of 1934, when a serious attempt was made to outlaw handguns.  It would not make sense to outlaw handguns, but allow people to cut down shotguns and rifles to make effective handguns, so short barreled rifles and shotguns were outlawed as well.  The short barreled rifle and shotgun ban passed. The pistol ban did not. The law ceased making any sense after the Supreme Court affirmed that handguns were protected under the second amendment in the Heller and McDonald decisions.

Near identical firearms are now ruled to be legal under the National Firearms Act by the ATF. The difference is that the gun in Los Angeles probably had a shoulder stock installed at the factory; the Shockwave Technologies gripped model did not. That is the sort of arcane difference that is common in U.S. gun laws.  Was a piece of wood attached at the factory, or wasn’t it?  The difference is a potential $10,000 fine and 10 years in jail.    You might have to search factory records to be sure.

Shockwave Technologies version made from a Mossberg 500 before a shoulder stock was attached.

It is hard for widows to take the guns to a gun store in California, because so many have been driven out of business, and people are fearful of contravening one of the myriad of confusing gun laws that the state has passed.  So a combination of ignorance and fear results in poor widows turning in thousand dollar guns for a pittance.

People who have more knowledge use the turn in (‘buy back’ is a propaganda term.  The government never owned these guns before)  to convert junk to money:

 Reese  told Benedict that the two rifles he turned in were both worth less than the two $100 gift cards he received.

This rusty Marlin .22, probably an 80, 780, or 880 series, is not worth much.  It is one of the rare guns destroyed by neglect.

There are no legal private buyers, because California has outlawed them.   In California, you are not allowed to sell a firearm unless you first obtain government permission to do so, obtained from a licensed government agent.

This has not had a measurable effect on the crime rate, but it may have increased the murder rate a bit.   In a study of gun shows in California and Texas, one of the only statistically significant results  were that at the relatively unregulated Texas shows, where guns could be purchased immediately, instead of with a 10 day wait, as in California, the murder rate with guns dropped in the two weeks immediately after a gun show.   One obvious explanation is that potential murderers wondered if their victim might have obtained a gun at the gun show.  The authors of the study were not happy with the answer that they obtained, and downplayed the results.

People are required to wait 10 days to legally obtain a gun anywhere in California, though a federal court has ruled the waiting period unconstitutional, at least for people who already own guns.   The Attorney General, Kamala Harris, has refused to follow the ruling at this time.

I expect that we will continue to see this sort of wasteful political propaganda in those states where there are many infringements on the second amendment.    Perhaps federal courts will eventually knock down more of the irrational and counterproductive California gun laws, but I do not expect it to happen soon.

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

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  1. Destroying such artfully designed firearms, is a violation of the 1st Amendment. If the NEA can subsidies a crucifix in a jar of urine, then surely these functional sculptures should be protected.

    • I wonder how many collector’s items will be ‘disappeared” on the way to destruction?

  2. There is another possibility with respect to the SBS. Suppose that that NFA-SBS is properly registered to the deceased husband. After the widow turned-it-in and the police destroyed it, the registration remains on the ATF’s books and there is no rational way to remove it.

    Sooner or later, the ATF might go looking for that NFA-registered SBS. It might occur due to a random audit; a Congressionally mandated review of the registry; or, ATF’s discovery that an NFA registrant has died. Now, they come looking for it. How much will that search cost in taxpayer funds? They will find the widow, or the decedent’s surviving heirs. They will be subjected to an interrogation. The widow might remember that she turned-in the SBS; assuming she is possessed of her mental faculties by the time ATF catches-up with her. Surviving heirs won’t necessarily know of the lawful disposition.

    The foregoing is one-more example in the parade-of-horribles that ought to be recorded against the sloppy practices of gun “buy-backs”.

    • Hey, maybe they will do their job, call her a liar, and put her in prison, saving the family the cost of a nursing home!

    • Could this be a twist–with more plausible deniability–on the “I lost my firearms in a boating accident” meme.

  3. Well, if these old women want to be rid of valuable personal property so badly at such low compensation, then we, the public, should see to it that their public benefits are similarly reduced.

    If destitution in their old age is what women want, then we should see that they get it, good and hard.

    • I see where you are comming from but I wouldn’t go that far. I’d be willing to bet that most of the elderly women just don’t know, or understand, the value that some items can command.
      I think its more of a case of big brother taking advantage of the situation just so they can get their rocks of destroying someone else’s firearms because, god forbid, we the unwashed masses can’t be allowed to be their equal.

      • Well, we’re constantly told that women are smarter than men. So I’m going to take the feminists at their word: These women are oh-so-very-smart and they know that they’re throwing away good money in their haste to be rid of their husband’s (or in California, their joint) property.

        Ergo, the women should suffer the consequences.

        • You’re absolutely right about the fact that everything has some value and any smart person would or should look into it.

        • I hear you, When I die, my wife swears she will put all my “stuff” out on the street, and sell it for a nickle on the dollar. Everything she has is either valuable antiques, or has deep sentimental value. All my stuff including expensive tools, is “Junk”

        • While I can see why you’re upset, suggesting reduction of benefits goes a bit far. She ALREADY suffers the consequences in that she receives less for her sale than she might have, otherwise! Though we may view her decision as foolish, and think less of her as a result, it is still her decision what to do with her things. Would we deny her this freedom, to take items which have passed to her, and keep or dispose of them as she chooses?

        • Because thanks to Obamacare (widely supported by older women who want healthcare on someone else’s dime), I’m subsidizing old women’s benefits. My health insurance costs have more than tripled since 2012.

          So yes, if they’re stupid enough to throw money away, then they should be deprived of benefits.

        • @ Gunr – “I hear you, When I die, my wife swears she will put all my “stuff” out on the street, and sell it for a nickle on the dollar….All my stuff including expensive tools, is “Junk””

          Gunr, I’m available for adoption…

          What do you say, ‘Dad’? 🙂 🙂

        • Sometimes I wonder if you are actually more right wing than I am.

          Clearly, these old ladies aren’t doing well in managing some of these fine firearms. I tried in vain to convince a widow, and former neighbor, that I could buy her husbands old M855 and M193 ammo. He’s got tons of it, properly stored, and I would have treated her fairly.

          But she’s a little nuts (I’d say 5149 1/2), and she may wind up losing her house and throwing her husband’s beautiful guns away for pennies on the dollar.

          I cringe at the thought: pre-Freedom Group Marlins and Remingtons, custom ARs, Colt Anaconda, Smith 686s, reloading equipment, etc. – all probably going to be toast. I’d say more than 100 guns in total in three large DOJ approved and fire-resistant gun vaults.

          I even got a firefighter acquaintance and FFL to help with transfers and to make purchases. Zilch.

  4. California seems to be worse (in some regards) than up here in Canada; both are bad, but some of this nonsense is head-shaking.

  5. Why doesnt some one who knows firearms go out there an give free appraisals to show how much someone is getting ripped off. And even suggest somewhere to sell it to get the best price. I would assume there is no law against just giving advise.

    • Maybe there is a law, maybe not……but I wouldn’t be surprised if the boys in blue tried to give anyone doing something like that a very hard time. If I was qualified to give those appraisals, I’d have to think twice about the headache it would cause. ( no, I’m not rolling over….just picking my battles).

      • A few of us tried it at a local buyback. It was suggested we move along even though we were legally in an antique store parking lot offering FREE appraisal of any antique. Friends business, since then he has closed due to multiple visits from every inspector on earth. They even tried to declare that the building was to close to the church.doing the buy, even though they built after his store.

    • B Fitts

      I expect anyone doing what you suggest would be immediately confronted and subject to microscopic examination for any and all “irregularities” in their life by officers conducting the take back reverse bargain bazaar.

      And, I’m certain something unfavorable and illegal will be found if not on site, in a thorough follow up investigation, particularly in L.A..

  6. This concludes an episode of, “Democrats in Charge.” Tune in next week for an exciting special about stealing money from hard working individuals, and giving it to bums.

  7. Harris, who enforces the law, feels free to ignore a court ruling, yet will unhesitatingly bring the power of the state against someone who would dare defy her idea of what the law should be.

    Harris will make a fine senator. She’s already well steeped in the tradition of “rules for thee and not for me” aspect of a senatorial career.

    • Harris certainly takes after our dear President Obama in that regard…he who adores her…looks…she being the “prettiest AG” on the planet and all.

      • And perhaps the only AG with her own clandestine paramilitary Knight’s Templar police/security force.

        Yes, California is weird.

  8. If paintings and sculptures were being destroyed by Muslims liberals would be out raged. But if you are an anti religious left winger it is ok to destroy valuable historical firearms and cheat the owners out of the true value of a family heirloom.

    Just as Baltimore has been destroyed by black progressive democrats, California is being destroyed by white progressive democrats. Jerry Brown, Tom Ammiano etc. etc. Progressives believe in Marijuana intoxication and homosexual marriage. But they do not believe freedom. And they will stick a gun in your face if you want to drink raw milk.

    • It’s called Democrat mob rule; and they “loot and burn” up the public tax coffers to do it.

    • Does anyone even have an estimate of how many millennia humans drank raw milk before there even was anything else? 30? And the new plan is maybe close to 100 years? And does this include a mother’s breast milk? These people are nuts.

  9. that’s a Super Blackhawk, not a Freedom Arms, the logo on the grip is a dead giveaway.

  10. Hey life’s rough…don’t give your junk away. I’ve been an antique & art dealer for 20some years. My job is NOT to give free appraisals. But I don’t prey on poor people and little old ladies-like these cops(and the gubmint). I pay people what they ask. And I paid $15 for a painting that sold for $32000…but that’s the price they had on it and I didn’t know if it was anything good-I just knew it looked nice(most art is crap). You gun guys need to intervene in these “events”. I know enough but am “fiscally challenged” right now…at least I know (if I have anything) my fellow antique dealer wife won’t give away any pricy guns if I die. LOL

  11. Reminds me of cash for clunkers. Waste of taxpayer money and all theyre doing is destroying future or even current collectors items. Although if either were to happen again here in sc I would be ok with it because i would make some free ammo fund money….

  12. Many years ago, when I was a cop, we had older women (always women) come in and just turn guns over to the PD for disposal. They didn’t want money. Among other guns, I personally took an AK-47 with three magazines from one old woman. That was 1995 and before I got into guns so I can’t tell you the heritage but it was a likely a pre-ban full auto. I knw that much because it had three distinct positions on the selector switch. Her husband died and she wanted it gone. I tried to offer her $100 for it but she refused and walked out. Of course I ran it and it was not stolen or anythign but my department’s policy was to destroy any weapon handed in like that. So into the smelter it went.

    My point is the little old ladies (and some others I am sure) handing these weapons are more often than not, uninterested in any money from these events. I’d be surprised if some even took the $100 gift card. They are just looking for the opportunity to rid themselves of something unwanted.

    Further point being – guys, in your will, make sure your daft old lady does not get control of your guns. Donate them to your local VFW if you have to but if you have a wife like mine, she’ll be loading them up and heading to the PD the day after I die. So my guns, all of them go to my sons, specifically named and noted.

    Get a good will, that’s my last point.

    • Yes, definitely ensure your will covers your firearms specifically including any details on the firearm.

      My mom had a Colt Army Special that belonged to a C.P.D. Officer–his name is engraved on it. Gun was manufactured in 1922– officer was actually a JR whose father of the same name was also in the C.P.D. for a full career. Gun doesn’t really have much in the way of value dollar wise, but it still works flawlessly at 93 years old and knowing it’s history somehow makes it more value/interest and I’d hate to see the family part with it.

      • I’ve tried that, it does not work. Think about it, you will figure it out. I give a couple guns to my son. A few weeks, maybe a couple months later, I stumble across an unforeseen reason why I have to buy a couple more guns. Not complaining, just sayin’.

  13. Damn, the first gun I ever bought was a police-surplus Colt Officers .38, for something like $149 (or was it $129?) in/about 1985.

    I replaced the stock grips with Hogues – wish now I hadn’t.

    And wish I had never sold it. Especially since Colt may be going extinct soon.

  14. The only effect on crime will be that more people will now be disarmed so the bad guys can operate more freely and harm more people without as much resistance. Evidently nobody in Commifornia cares about that.

  15. Would so like to give that Colt Detective .38 special revolver, at top of the pile, a good home, would even have a sibling Colt Detective revolver.

    Don’t have to worry about my prized weapons being sold in a “buy back” or sold for pennies on the dollar, my close family members will get them all & sister-in-law knows guns values.

    • Wonderful. Good of you to pass the “investment” information on to those close to you. My family does know the value of ours. I just wish, others knew before giving them up for a lousy gift card.

  16. Build some $5 zip guns. Turn them in for $100. Winning.

    If they renig on their no-questions-asked game of encouraging gun theft, then who will do it anymore. Double-edged sword. Use it.

    • Be sure to video the encounter… Oh, it is California, where police have charged people for “wiretapping” when they were recorded in the performance of their public duties, in direct violation of a couple of appeal courts’ rulings… but not the Ninth Circuit. Perhaps if you have an “Approaching car grants permission to audio/video record” bumper sticker…

  17. The women have been frightened by anti-gun propaganda, this is why they feel they must rush to a decision. They are afraid, a scary GUN! The Gov’t told them so. The sooner the evil is out of the house the better. At any moment it might kill someone. The cops or whoever is in charge is taking advantage of them, there is no question. A pawn shop would be better deal.

  18. I was at this buyback with a friend of mine with a sign offering free firearm appraisals. We were mainly thwarted by the lack of ample parking room on the street outside the buyback but one woman did end up coming by and we were able to convince her to not turn in her revolver. I ended up purchasing that revolver today and will be able to pick it up in 10 days. Its a pain but it can be done.

    This is not the first buyback I have crashed inside of California and I have acquired quite a few cool pieces by putting in a bit of work

    Due to not only the interest in crashing buybacks but also the amount of misinformation about it, I would like to write an article detailing my experiences. I have emailed the staff at TTAG about it. Hopefully they take me up on it.

  19. Pawn shop is the way to go, if one so chooses to rid themselves of a “clean” firearm.
    Gun “buys” are the way to go if some crackhead wants a gift card for the stolen Mexican Obregon .45acp, since these ridiculous gun “buys” have a “no questions asked” policy… Smh…

    • Actually, AFAIK pawnshops in LA county can’t touch firearms.

      I walked in one and asked about guns and they looked at me like I was crazy.

      I think it might be a long drive to get to one that could do something like that from my area, I’ve never heard of it before.

      Our best bet is to consign them at Turners. I may end up doing that with a bunch of the cheaper ones because it just isn’t worth my time to drive all over for a $200 rifle. It can take hours to do a gun sale, freaking ridic. Such is life here.

  20. The part in this article about “no private buyers or sellers in California” is completely false. I own a gun store in California and we perform Private Party Transfers every day. What is true is that the transaction needs to happen at an FFL where a background check is performed on the buyer, who also fills out the 4473. But the buyer and seller perform their financial transaction between themselves and there is no requirement to get prior permission from the govt. Yes it is WAY more restrictive than in most states, but the author got it completely wrong to state it doesn’t happen in California.

    • You state that a background check has to be done, and a 4473 filled out. If that is not prior permission from the government, then I do not know what is. When prior permission from the government is required, and records kept, it is no longer a private sale. It is a government sanctioned and recorded sale.

      • I don’t think private sale means what you think it means. LOTS of private sales involve government forms, etc.

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