Gun Buyback Buy Back
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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An I-Team investigation finds some of the weapons taken off the streets during Chicago Police Department firearm turn-in events are very old, rusty and damaged. Others are fakes. But, those trying to stop Chicago violence insist every gun removed from circulation makes the city safer…

CPD hands out $100 gift cards for firearms and $10 gift cards for replicas ditched at these events. According to turn-in records obtained by the I-Team, in 2021 CPD held four official gun turn-in events. They gave out 475 $100 gift cards for collected firearms and 116 $10 cards for replicas, totaling $48,660. The previous year, 2020, CPD held five official gun turn-in events, handing out 625 $100 gift cards for firearms collected and 122 $10 for replicas, totaling $63,720 in gift cards.

I-Team analysis found that an increasing percentage of fakes are being turned in at these events. Sixteen percent of the gift cards in 2020 were for replicas. That jumped to 20% in 2021.

“Criminals are the least likely folks who are going to be turning the guns in,” said James Sobol, Associate Professor, SUNY Buffalo State

Records obtained through FOIA show some of the weapons turned in are very old. They include a “flintlock pocket pistol” that was “popular in BRITAIN during the 18th century,” an “early 1900s” Belgian revolver, and several decades-old shotguns and rifles marked as having “heavy rust.” They also turned up a toy gun, made to look like a civil war-era revolver.

Criminal justice professor James Sobol has studied gun turn-in programs across the country. He said his research shows the programs don’t have a significant impact on reducing crime.

“Are these programs more public relations than public safety?” I-Team Report Chuck Goudie asked.

“The gun buyback again, sounds good. Its impact on crime, probably negligible,” Sobol answered.

— Chuck Gowdie et al. in Gift cards for guns: What the Chicago Police Department gets from firearm turn-ins

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  1. Well duhhhh! This feel good bullcrap was never meant to solve any problems, it was meant solely to convince non thinkers that something WAS being done!

    • So what are we saying, that ‘ buy backs’ pretty much equate to the moderation system used here on TTAG ? Minus the consolation prize, of course. Certainly seems that way.

  2. Lightfoot…” We must do something flashy and expensive…it demonstrates we’re doing SOMETHING even if it is categorically stupid and ineffective.”

    Note: this is a fictional quote. The real Lightfoot is not this forthcoming.

  3. Oh I saw this “report” on the local ABC channel 7. Kinda surprised but “stopped clock”. Not everything is a piece of crap. Just most of it. Security theater dontchaknow?

  4. Had a gun buy back thing here about three years ago. Only three guns were turned in, they were inoperable corroded junk that had been fire damaged. The local anti-gun nuts and the police sit there for a little over 12 hours in heat index temp of 101 degrees waiting for people to show up. Of the three that were turned in they got $200.00 for each gun, they used the money to buy a couple of lowers to build new guns.

  5. If they are anti gun then they are, at best, dishonest and at worst they have an agenda that has nothing to do with fighting crime.

    The anti gun agenda is at the very least anti civil rights and a crime against humanity. We need a Nuremberg 2.0.

    • Question for jwm the white supremecist: How do you square your alleged desire for a ‘Nuremberg 2.0’ with your obvious devotion to Adolph Hitler?

        • Whoa! That comment “Conflict” is just wrong, you owe jwm an apology.

          Sure jwm is the consummate busy body who sticks his rather hefty self in every conversation.

          And sure jwm has taken from life, way way way more than he will ever dream, or attempt, to give back.

          And sure he leaves absolutely innate comments (no where near as bad as whipped anal Haz, nor as demented as lonely Geoff) that do nothing to further the discussion.

          And sure jwm, is a gelatinous chronically flatulent odious blob.. However, calling him a “white supremacist” with “Hitler devotions” is entirely crossing the line, condemned, and point of fact, just erroneous.

      • nameless, brainless troll,

        Q: How do you square your alleged aversion to “fascist” Donald Trump with your obvious devotion to the ACTUALLY fascist (although still senile and stupid) Joe “the Walking Rutabaga” Biden?

        A: Because the nameless, brainless troll is an uneducated, ignorant fool of a partisan Leftist idiot. Why don’t you, dacian the stupid, and MinorIQ just get back to your circle jerk, and let the adults have a conversation???

  6. And yet….they’ll undoubtably keep doing them. The optics of an an anti-gun agenda mean more to them then the reality of an anti-gun agenda.

  7. I am just impressed to see anyone from the SUNY system stating the obvious in criminal justice/public policy. Good for him but I worry for his job.

  8. Despite the transparent smoke screens and political feel-good sound bites, their primary goal is total disarmament of the population. The goal of total authoritarian control cannot be realized until this is accomplished. The Founders knew very well.

    • Yes, and they blame the problems on the tool: guns are inherently bad, corrupting, spiritually dark. More of them is bad, less of them is better, zero guns is utopia! They don’t want to see them, touch them, have them advertised or promoted. It doesn’t matter who owns them or for what reason. They would react in panic if they saw most of our “arsenals” with hundreds or thousands of rounds of ammo. So a “buy back” actually does good to them. It gets rid of some guns. The same reason they don’t want cities to sell off surplus police guns or seized weapons lawfully. They want them destroyed, they may say for liability (I guess they would feel at fault if someone did misuse that police weapon) but again, they also just don’t want the public buying or owning or carrying weapons.

      • And they are the useless idiots that don’t even realize they are being used.
        If civilian disarmament were to happen the masters would quickly get tired of their winey asses and they would be canceled.

        • Or at least put to work on the Great Lakes to Seattle canal. Dug by hand and only with garden tools.

  9. Well, Duh. We’ve been telling these people this for years. But would they listen to us? But NOOOO! They seem to be unable to accept as fact anything the pro-gun side tells them, and will spend literally millions of dollars to engage in fake science to “prove” they are right.

  10. I would be very interested to see the methodology that allowed Prof. Sobol to make the determination that “Criminals are the least likely folks who are going to be turning the guns in”, since all or most such programs are “no questions asked”, don’t require ID, etc. Fascinating.

    And OTOH, one common COMPLAINT about such “buy backs” is that they provide criminals with a no-risk opportunity to dispose of “crime guns” that have become too “hot” to fence on the street.

    I personally agree, in that my BELIEF is that most people participating in gun “buy backs” are probably disposing of old junk they inherited or had laying around. After all, if you’re a criminal wanting to dispose of a “crime gun” which is too hot to fence locally, why not just sell it somewhere else???

    Whatever. I heartily endorse his conclusion that such programs have no impact on “gun crime”, but I suspect that has as little actual research behind it as the claim that most such people aren’t criminals. It’s wishcasting, and I can’t endorse it as “research”, even if I do agree with the conclusions.

    • turn in an old rusted one to get $$ to buy a new(er) shiny one. They’re helping the criminals improve their tools of the trade!

      …as well as the folks that collect old, nonfunctional guns to sell off at these things to help scholarship kids to camps and competitions, which is the ideal use of these programs.

    • Criminals will turn in guns. Ones they want to get rid of at “No questions asked” buybacks. The best disposal of crime guns.

  11. It’s nice to see here in ILL that they are giving criminals a platform to dispose of firearms used in a crime or just exploit the whole program by selling junk for $$…hey what the hell…all us folks paying taxes in ILL are flipping the bill anyway…pretty sure they aren’t paying for it…Thanks again prickster!!

  12. This investigation sheds light on a concerning aspect of firearm turn-in events in Chicago. The discovery of outdated, rusted, and even forged firearms raises questions about the effectiveness of these initiatives. While it’s crucial to acknowledge that not all turned-in weapons may be in working condition, the overarching goal of reducing gun violence remains paramount. Efforts to curb the bloodshed in Chicago should not be discounted. Every gun removed from circulation is a potential life saved, and these events play a role in that process. It is imperative however that authorities in collaboration with a reputable Digital Marketing Agency address the issue of accepting firearms that pose a potential danger to both law enforcement and the public. Stricter screening processes and improved evaluation techniques could help ensure that only functional and non-hazardous firearms are accepted in future turn-in events. This way the initiative can continue to contribute to a safer Chicago.


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