Of all the cockamamie schemes dreamed up by anti-rights advocates to deny American citizens the right to keep and bear arms, the absolute silliest may be the gun buy-back programs and the efforts to melt collected guns so they don’t end up “back on the street.”
This is so bogus, where to begin? First, even the name is deceptive because you can’t buy back something you never owned. These are really taxpayer-funded private gun buys. Where is legitimate authority to even think about that? And the guns were never “on the street” — people bring them in from their closets.
Most of the guns in police storage lockers are abandoned property, lost and found, turned in after a person passes on, inventory from foreclosures, RICO seizures, even guns turned in by people who can no longer legally own them, and recovered stolen goods. Very few are “smoking guns” taken from criminals for evidence in trials.
Guns can’t just go back on a street they were never on, that’s ludicrous. The Brady law requires every retail firearm sale, all the ones police might resell, to go through an FBI background check to a law-abiding adult. “Dumped on a street” is a preposterous notion promoted by blindly fearful people in power who know nothing, and a compliant media that knows even less. A citizen buying a police-recycled firearm is taking a bite out of crime.
Not long ago, police would sell firearms they accumulated back to honest citizens, minus a few true crime guns. The money was an important element of their budgets. It bought lab gear, training ammo, body armor and other “extras” they otherwise couldn’t afford. Now, for political correctness, that cash flow is cut off. Meltdowns harm our ability to fight crime.
One of the big surprises in the buy-up-and-melting game is manufacturers tend to support meltdowns. Every firearm that doesn’t get back into the free market is replaced by a newly manufactured piece. Gun meltdowns don’t reduce the number of guns, as advocates dream, it’s just a way of redistributing sales.
If you can buy a gun from some gun-pushing NRA-supporting cigar-chomping gun dealer, you certainly ought to be able to buy one from Officer Friendly and support your local police at the same time.
Some officials, intoxicated with the idea of this worthless scheme, act as if they have some legitimate power to confiscate a public asset (merchandise in police holding bins) and simply destroy it in the name of — what exactly? It doesn’t accomplish its imagined purpose. Melting guns doesn’t take them off a street they were never on, catching criminals in the act does that. Melts don’t reduce the supply of guns, it just changes the shopping channels. Basically, gun melts are feel-good sophistry. Look it up.
In some states, like mine, it’s perfectly legal to buy a gun from a fellow citizen, just cash and carry. This drives the anti-rights bigots crazy, because there are no controls. Arizonans call that freedom. There’s no harm done, no crime committed, and no victim, but antis ignore that. “A criminal could get armed that way,” and the do-gooders ignore the fact criminals are already heavily armed, despite any legal mumbo jumbo.
This freedom however allows a wonderful opportunity. When a publicity-hungry city or a charity organizes a worthless gun buy-up, we can attend and cherry pick the arriving merchandise, maybe pick up a bargain or save an heirloom pre-smelter. After all, while authorities offer a $50 gift card to a grocery store, any reasonable person would gladly offer double for a functioning sidearm.
Problem is, there’s usually very little to cherry pick. People, being smarter than anti-rights bureaucrats, just bring old rusted junk for grocery money. I was so ticked off when a guy named Clyde beat me to new-in-the-box Ruger Mark III .22-caliber target pistol for a C-note. It was the only nice piece around that day.
But that’s nothing compared to the sad story our esteemed editor relates. His friend’s police detail at the PD range, was staging one of these periodic charades, gathering typical junk people had collected from garage sales, when in walks a widow with an original, mint 1903 Springfield sniper rifle with scope and kit worth $2,500. Unable to contain himself, the officer tells the lady to go to a shop and get real money for this serious collectible.
Trouble is, the lieutenant overheard him, and placed the officer on formal suspension! That’s what this melty feely program accomplished, cheat an elderly social-security recipient out of desperately needed cash. Meanwhile, a PD employee dropped off a bag of old, broken, top-break revolvers he had accumulated at $10 each from garage sales and neighbors, and got a check for $1,300! The department unsuccessfully sought its money back because “It wasn’t in the spirit of the buy-back.”
Do you think the department melted that 1903 Springfield beauty? Or did every officer there angle for that piece until someone got it. Stories of the ride to the smelter, with a trunk full of firearms stopping along the way to save the goodies, are legendary. Efforts to deny our civil rights always turn out badly.
Alan Korwin is the author of nine books on gun law, including After You Shoot: Your Gun’s Hot, the Perp’s Not, Now What? He runs the GunLaws.com website, and is the manager of the TrainMeAZ.com campaign.
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