Whites need not apply. That was the message Guns Save Life took away from a recent foray up to the Windy City to trade in unwanted firearms for $100 pre-paid credit cards. Our experience felt surreal to say the least in this era when profiling – especially racial profiling – is a big no-no, especially in government service. It all began as five Caucasian members of Guns Save Life waited surreptitiously in line at a Chicago gun buyback location. Out of the blue, my wife and I were told by a surly, middle-aged woman from the Mayor’s office that “we won’t be taking those today” in reference to a dozen plus long guns my wife and I brought . . .
I asked if she had an interest in a zip gun and held it up. She looked at it like I was holding a dog turd and said, “I don’t know what that is,” and walked away. Pearls before swine.
The remaining people in the lobby were asking, “Why did they turn those people away? Aren’t they trying to take guns off the streets?” Our remaining members just shrugged their shoulders and sat idly by waiting to get called in.
Fifteen minutes later, each of our Caucasian members were ejected by the same surly woman. As we chatted with very amiable and professional Chicago Police officers, we watched two other Caucasian males turned away over the course of the next half hour.
In short, we watched first-hand as every Caucasian person who walked into the facility was curtly told their firearms would not be accepted, while African-American individuals with similar quantities and types of firearms were welcomed with open arms.
The reason given directly to some of our people kicked out: “This is for members of the community.” Ironically, two of the three individuals who were told this live and work in Cook County. The third lives in a nearby suburb.
We visited with a pair of Chicago’s finest outside after getting the heave-ho. The plainclothes cops seemed genuinely concerned for our safety and well-being and even helped me load the long guns back into my vehicle. My lovely bride and I left and we returned about fifteen minutes later after the others in our contingent were rejected and the officers came back over.
I introduced myself properly, and they chuckled when I told them what we did in 2013 with Chicago’s gun buyback. The younger cop looked at my card and grinned. I got the impression he remembered it. Neither of them had any love for the gun buyback.
We had a great visit with them for upwards of a half-hour. I asked if they were working overtime for the event. Nope. This was their regular shift and they were detailed to this gun buyback.
“We missed a chance to make a real arrest,” one said. They had a call of a man with a gun just two or three blocks away earlier in the morning, and they couldn’t leave the detail to arrest a “real bad guy”. So real criminals in Chicago are left free on the streets because cops are tied up on the mayor’s feel-good program.
The officers also quickly and emphatically distanced themselves from the surly woman who kicked us to the curb. “She’s not with us,” one said. They noted how she was from the mayor’s office and had the key to the safe with the pre-paid gift cards.
Inside, before getting ejected, one of our party overheard the mayor’s flack explaining to a member of the media why she rejected my wife and I – people with guns. “Oh, they are gun dealers who want to unload guns that won’t sell,” she told him. Pressed for how she’s identifying these dealers by sight alone. “You can tell who’s from the neighborhood and who’s not.”
For the record I’m not a dealer. My C&R license expired last year and I had exactly one gun on my “books”.
This post originally appeared at gunssavelife.com and is reprinted here with permission.