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by Tango




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i despise gun "buy-backs"

Without even addressing the patent idiocy of "buying back" something you never really owned to begin with, I absolutely hate gun "buy-backs". Why? Gos-se like this:


That one image, borrowed from KOMONews.com’s appropriately anti-firearms news article, adequately sums up all of my reasons for hating this bit of governmental idiocy.

First, take a look at the right end of the table – those three large drum magazines and folding stocks? This quote from the news article confirms my fears:

The return count was nearly evenly split between pistols and rifles, and among the weapons turned in were three "street sweepers" — shotguns that include a high capacity magazine capable of holding twelve 12-gauge shotgun shells — and a military surface-to-air missile launcher.

The Cobray Street Sweeper is the American-made version of the Armsel Striker; both are drum-fed 12-gauge shotguns, both are semi-automatic, both are no longer made/imported, and both are regulated Destructive Devices and thus controlled by the National Firearms Act.

The last price I saw for a nearly-mint-condition Street Sweeper was somewhere in the $1300 range, in addition to the $200 tax stamp and 6-9 month wait for the BATFE to decide you can own the firearm.

Yes, ~$4000 of gun hardware just got "sold back" to the Seattle Police Department for a measly $300 in gift cards. Good Lord.

Unfortunately, the problem goes deeper than that, though. As I said, these firearms are no longer made, and I have every reason to believe that SPD will be destroying the firearms they "bought back", which will take another three Strikers/Sweepers out of an increasingly small national inventory. In other words, history is literally being destroyed by fetishistic morons.

Then, consider the insanity of selling a ~$1300 firearm for $100 in gift cards. Either the SPD just took advantage of someone who genuinely had no idea what they had in their possession (a despicable act in and of itself), or they just aided and abetted a criminal disposing of evidence, "no questions asked". Last I checked, a violation of the NFA (such as owning a Street Sweeper without the appropriate tax stamp and paperwork to go with it) is punishable by up to ten years in prison and possibly $10,000 to $250,000 in fines… but I can guarandamntee you the Seattle Police Department did not ask for the ownership/transfer documents when they took these guns.

What a wonderful way for criminals to dispose of inconvenient evidence and get away scott-free.

But even the Street Sweepers are just the tip of the iceberg – consider KOMO News losing their collective gos-se over the "military surface-to-air missile launcher". I will admit to not being as "up" on my MANPADS as I possibly should be, but I will grant the possibility that that launcher could be for a FIM-92 Stinger system; at the very least, it is some sort of shoulder-fired missile/rocket launcher.

So what?

No, you heard me right: so what? Without the actual rocket/missile that goes in that launcher – a missile that is 100% impossible for private citizens to procure through legal channels – it is nothing more than a rather expensive fiberglass or metal tube with some interesting electronics and probably very dead batteries hanging off of it. The worst someone can do with that thing is beat someone to death with it, and I dare say there are better tools for that particular job.

But, now, the Seattle Police Department can hold up this harmless tube on their news broadcasts, and proudly proclaim that they took this missile launcher of the streets of their fair city, thereby ensuring the safety of all travelers at SEATAC and beyond. In other words, they are going to further mislead the residents of the Pacific Northwet.

Oh, and by the way, you can buy rocket launcher tubes, legally, even in once-Great Britain. I have no idea if this particular one was strictly legal, but, for God’s sake, it is just a hollow tube – what are you going to do, ban those?

Now look at the rest of the "junk on the bunk" picture – in front, we have a folding-stock 10/22, a Tapco-ized SKS, something I want to say is another SKS but I have no idea, an AK-pattern rifle, a Sten gun (!), the evil noob toob, another SKS, some kind of bolt-action rifle, and an AR-15 A1. Assuming they are all in working condition, every last one of those is worth more than $100, with the A1 potentially pulling $2,000+ (depending on make and date of manufacture) and the Sten gun (if it is a real Sten gun) being somewhere in the $7,000 range (but still $500-$1000 if it is only a semi-auto knock-off). Did the people "turning in" these guns have a bloody clue of their actual value? Probably not. Instead, they were probably mislead by "gun control" fetishists, the media, and even the Seattle Police Department itself into thinking their particular hand-me-down, garage shelf find, or leftover from their dead spouse was, in some way, "evil", and it was their duty to "get rid of it".

I am firmly of the opinion that people should be free to do with their property what they will, but when they genuinely have no idea what they have, a public servant exploiting that ignorance and giving them $100 for a $7000 item is just disgusting.

Which brings us to yet another aspect of this disaster – with just those materials displayed on or leaning against the table, and assuming I identified them properly, the Seattle Police Department could make somewhere in the neighborhood of $15,000 – $20,000. But they are not going to. No, they are going to drag these firearms – some of them literally irreplaceable pieces of history – to a smelter and destroy them. Why? Because the police department "wants them off the street".

Jesus wept. If you want them off the gorramed street, give them to me – I will not only keep them off any and all streets, I will at least recognize them for what they are, rather than demonizing them as "evil" deodands to be destroyed due to the misuse or negligence of their owners.

Even beyond that, though, if I had somehow destroyed $20,000 of the United States Navy’s property when I was active duty, I would still be cooling my heels in Leavenworth even to today. These public servants, however, get special dispensation because they idiotically claim this is helping "public safety" or whatever the going lie is these days.

Hell with that.

Think of how many original 1911s from World War 2 were brought back, shoved in a sock drawer somewhere, and then summarily destroyed when Granny found it after Pops died and wanted nothing to do with it. Think of the untold millions of dollars of machined aluminum, steel, iron, and whatever else that has been unnecessarily crushed, sliced, slagged, or otherwise completely and totally destroyed. Think of the irreplaceable pieces of history that belong in the ownership of someone who will actually look after them, but are instead reduced to waste metal (thankfully, that particular one was saved).

Yes, as an engineer, an American citizen, and a human being, I am pissed off at the very concept gun "buy backs", much less their execution. Why are you not?

(Oh, and just because it pisses me off, those magazines attached to the Street Sweepers are not "high-capacity" – those are the only magazines ever made for that firearm, which means they are strictly normal-capacity, a small detail the fearmongering morons at KOMO conveniently omitted.)

(This blood pressure spike brought to you by way of Joe Huffman.)

30 comments to i despise gun "buy-backs"

  • Ted N

    By the gold markings, I’m betting the tube on the Stinger is just for training. Can’t see clearly enough to be sure at all, but we both know gold/yellow or blue usually mean trainers.

    And some blockhead’ll be on the news, waving it over his head like he’s done something useful.

    Makes me eager for an apocalypse, any variety.

  • Whoopie

    All for show. Hey if this gimmick is so great, why not have a drug or bomb buy back? Or maybe a stolen car buy back?

    Yeah, just turn in a any stolen item, street drug or pipe bomb for a $50 gift certificate, no questions asked.

    (These people think we’re stupid)

  • Volfram

    I’m a big fan of the people who stand outside gun buy-backs and offer the prospective “sellers” closer to what the gun is actually worth.

    Cheap way to score a really nice piece.

  • I remember this – by some quirk of satellite tv packaging i get all the Seattle networks – the tube was a training device, a guy brought it from someone waiting in line and then the police came and took it from him. In exchange for a giftcard, but without any real choice in the matter. They said they were going to investigate the serial number to see if it was missing from a base inventory somewhere. The street sweepers were NIB, i had to look them up at the time as i had no idea what they were. I think the story on those was the owner didn’t have paperwork and couldn’t do much else with them. I have no idea what paperwork that would be, not my forte.
    Dammit, all that was in the KOMO article anyway. :/
    That 3rd SKS is probably a Russian one.
    All the black plastic guns were on display i see.
    It may make you happy to know AZ just banned buybacks, or something like that haven’t googled it yet.

  • Gun Buy Backs: Because the police should be the safest fence for a criminal looking to sell off stolen goods.

  • Tom

    Mayor McGinn, “We can never know which one of them might otherwise have been used in an argument between brothers.” No, you can’t ever know WHAT might be used as a weapon, but you sure can attach a probability to it. What’s the likelihood that a 10/22 was used to murder someone, let alone one brother killing another? I’d be surprised if it were higher than 1/10th of 1%.

    How tough would it be to create a mock up of a rocket launch tube that would pass inspection by the local constabulary for less than $100? I mean, if you could create a couple of these for less than $50, you could turn them in and have a nice little profit at the expense of taxpayers.

  • @ Ted N: In fairness, if it was not properly demilled, there may be some electronics in there that the federal government might not want falling into the wrong hands, so there is that.

    But as a weapon? A baseball bat would be better.

    @ Whoopie: Unfortunately, they know that America is, on average, in fact, stupid. After all, this kind of idiocy would not go on if the politicians backing/supporting/funding it were immediately ejected during the next electoral cycle.

    @ Volfram: If I had the money, and if TN had a propensity for this kind of idiocy, I would totally do that.

    @ dave w: Yeah, the noob toob was mentioned in the article, but the Street Sweepers were not… Regarding their paperwork, if I recall, if you owned one before they were reclassified a DD, you had an “amnesty period” to register them with the BATFE before they were illegal to own. It sounds like this guy failed to do that, thus cannot transfer them, or even safely dispose of them. Except here, apparently.

    Damned shame.

    @ The Jack: Thankfully, they also pay the least for the guns, but still…

    @ Tom: Given some of the pictures I have seen from ComiCon or whatever, it would not be hard at all.

  • Volfram

    @ Linoge: Not like you need that much money. Offer ’em as little as double what the cops are, hard cash, and you should be able to make back 5-10x your investment at the gun shop down the street. Even I would be willing to take out a loan for that.

    The lack of buybacks in Tennessee is good news, but also more difficult to overcome.

  • Archer

    Hmmm… CeaseFire Oregon is holding their annual “Gun Turn-in” this Saturday. Going rates are $100 for handguns, $75 for rifles and shotguns, $150 for “assault weapons,” $25 for magazines (50 rds and up), and $10 for pellet/BB guns.

    Need to check my schedule and funds, see if I can’t “save” some of these.

  • Phssthpok

    Upon closer examination I believe the far right folding stock carbine is in fact a Mini-14/30, and not a 10-22. The magazine well appears to be longer and skinnier, and is not ‘tight’ up against the front of the trigger guard, the front barrel band seems rather more robust, the front sight appears to be of the huge-honkin’-blade variety, and I *think* I can see some of the op-rod metal forward of the charging handle.

  • Volfram

    @ Archer: wait, long guns are $25 less than handguns? That’s just stupid, there’s more GUN to sell in a long gun!

    Good luck in your endeavor, may you increase your armory by a SIGNIFICANT margin. Be sure to tell your friends. We’re counting on you guys to save these historic artifacts.

  • Tom

    To Volfram’s and Archer’s points, I wonder if this is a situation where peer to peer lending in the gun community would help. I’ve never done that before, but I’ve always found it intriguing.

  • Duane

    If I recall correctly all of the stingers electronics where in the actual missile body, the launcher had a screw in battery that powered the unit and performed the super cool for the IR seeker head.

    But then I was a RTO assigned to a duck hunter unit and got my Manpads training from my coworkers.

  • Oh look:


    Gee gotta love the logic for that “Sorry sir but it’s illegal to fence *that* weapon to us.” And of course the man was “returning” the bomb. Since I suppose all property belongs to the state and the subjects merely borrow them for a time.

    And talk about destroying history as a Tompson was also turned in. Way to go guys, gonna have a book-buy-back next week and burn some of the rare texts you get?

  • GOPGunner

    I think that is an older Redeye, still a MANPAD, but a crappy first generation one that can only engage targets from the rear. So, you can shoot at the MiG or Frogfoot only after he has dumped your ordance on you.

    More than enough to bring down an airliner, EXCEPT, it is nothing but a piece of fiberglass with a craptastic metal trigger on it. The power pack and battery housing aren’t even on it, those you wear on your web belt.

    Sweet Lord Baby Jesus, I saw the Seattle PD chief, sporting his four stars mind you, holding that thing up like he had just stopped the next big terrorist attack.

    Hell, I have an old LAW tube that I carry about in my rucksack from time to time at Boy Scout camp because it gives the kids a laugh.

  • Archer

    @ Volfram: Yep. Except for “assault weapons” (which the announcement on their site doesn’t define; I might try to turn in a hammer), long guns are cheaper. Doesn’t make much sense to me, either, but it DOES show that they’re not as worried about the “high-powered” guns as they claim to be.

    Plus, what they’re offering is half what “buy-backs” in other cities offer, which is a joke in and of itself. $100 for a handgun? Really!? IIRC, the Seattle-area event was giving $200 for handguns and long guns, and $300 for “assault weapons”.

  • Divemedic

    The missile tube wasn’t turned in. There were people standing outside of the event buying up interesting pieces, the cops saw the tube changing hands, and swooped outside to confiscate it. I can only imagine how “convincing” they were.


  • @ Volfram: I understand “buy backs” happen over in the Memphis direction, but that is a bit of a haul for me. Still, I am happier not to have to worry about my local government wasting its money on that.

    @ Archer: Oh, do please stop by and save some of those firearms… and say hi to Baldr Odinson / Jason Kilgore while you are there ;).

    @ Phssthpok: s/right/left. I could buy that. The endcap on the forearm appears to resemble that on a Mini-14/30, so that would make sense too.

    @ Tom: Are you referring to microloans? I could totally see a thing like that working here… people funneling funds to people in areas where “buy backs” happen in order to save firearms, and then receiving an appropriate percentage of the profits of selling those firearms on the open market… Interesting idea.

    @ Duane: I drove ships. My knowledge of MANPADS is limited exclusively to what I learned from various sources while being bored on watch in CIC. 🙂

    @ The Jack: Wow. Apparently reality is even more absurd that we are willing to imagine.

    But, yeah, the very mentality of “turning in” private property turns my stomach for a whole host of reasons.

    @ GOPGunner: And that is exactly what I was afraid / figured would happen – the Grand Poo-Bah of the Seattle PD would use this hollow, empty, useless fiberglass tube as a club to beat the fuzzy wuzzies back into mind-raping fear of firearm owners, gun shows, and whatever else the current hobby horse might be.


    @ Divemedic: The article does not appear to make it clear whether or not it was going to be turned in, though. Hard to say.

  • Seattle mayor announce that are having another one today. You should all stop buying stuff from amazon, they are funding the most of it.

  • Tom

    Linoge wrote:

    @ Tom: Are you referring to microloans? I could totally see a thing like that working here… people funneling funds to people in areas where “buy backs” happen in order to save firearms, and then receiving an appropriate percentage of the profits of selling those firearms on the open market… Interesting idea.

    Yes. I don’t want to post any links to outside vendors, but if you search for peer to peer lending the biggest sites come up. Google just bought a chunk of one of them. People who need smallish loans (usually under 25K) but may not have great credit scores create accounts on these sites, tell people their story about their need for the money, and offer some interest rate that you won’t get from a bank. It’s a little like crowd funding. The company acts as an intermediary to make sure everyone follows the rules. I could see some of these companies balking at a person raising money to buy guns, so it may have to be posted as a personal loan. But the marketing and vetting could be done through the online gun community. Get 60 people to loan $50 each, and you get a $3,000 war chest to buy up choice firearms, sell them, pay off the loan with interest, and keep the net profit.

  • Dave

    @ Ted N:

    Yellow indicates live munitions, blue means inert…but it is certain to be an expended tube. I was an ADA officer 1986-1995, and that is indeed an old Redeye, not a Stinger. Redeye hasn’t been in the active inventory since the late 80’s. They did use a BCU (battery-coolant unit), which is the black cylinder sticking out of the bottom behind the pistol grip. They only lasted a couple of minutes until the coolant ran out…which I am sure it has by now. And as far as valuable electronics…I think not. There wasn’t much in there but some fire control circuitry, which is extreeeemely outdated now. I wouldn’t worry about someone deciphering our Redeye technology.

  • dave w

    Well this new level of stupidity from the rainy hippy state will be sure to piss you all off.

  • GOPGunner


    Hey, thanks for validating the two hours I spent wondering around the little ADA museum at Fort Sill. A buddy of my gave me the wrong time for his graduation and I had time to kill.

    Nice to know I learned something. I was pretty sure that was a Redye.

    I know will strut about confidently, that even as an infantry officer, I know stuff about other branches. lol

  • Volfram

    I would be happy to participate in a Walls Of The City gun rescue microloan program. We should figure something out and get it started up. When’s the next buyback, who’s closest? Can we get it running in time?

  • @ dave w: Well, they are paying Seattle / WA taxes, but are they actively funding these “buy-backs” with money intentionally donated out of their own pockets?

    @ Tom: Yup, that is generally what I was envisioning when you said it as well… I can totally see how it would work out, and I am rather envious of people who live in areas where gun “buy backs” transpire (while simultaneously thankful I do not) given how much money could be made in something like that. I will think about it.

    @ Dave: Shiny. Being a USN SWO, I knew scant little about this kind of artillery; thanks for the correction and clarification :).

    @ dave w: Good guess, that :P.

    @ Volfram: There is a lot to be figured out…

    First, we need a documentation of what “buy-backs” are happening and when; in my limited observation, the municipalities that run these do not make a point of announcing them very much in advance.

    Second, we need some way of vetting people who want to serve as the buyer for the loans… As Tom suggested, we could do it through the existing micro-loan sites, but that would require people in every town with buy-backs having accounts open and waiting for one to crop up.

    Third, we need some way of shunting the money to them as necessary. Again, there is some infrastructure in place already to do that, but the shorter notice may complicate things.

    Still, a dedicated movement to undermine “buy backs” would make me happy indeed; I will do some reading about microloan sites over the weekend and see what I can figure out.

  • Sorry I missed this thread, but I wanted to note AZ’s new badassery.

    AZ HB 2455: An AzCDL requested bill that clarifies that even firearms that are voluntarily surrendered to a state or local entity (i.e., via a “buy back” program) cannot be destroyed and must be sold.
    Signed by the Governor on April 29, 2013.

    Also, gun “buybacks” are great if you have the cash to turn it into an impromptu gun show. Guess that won’t be happening in AZ after this fall. 🙂

  • Rob Crawford

    Upon closer examination I believe the far right folding stock carbine is in fact a Mini-14/30, and not a 10-22.

    Yep. That’s the gasblock of a Mini-14/30.

  • Ted N

    @ Dave: Thanks, I was going off my fuzzy memories from when I was an Apache wrench monkey. IIRC, our Hellfire dummies/trainers were marked with yellow stripes, but I could be wrong, and thought it was universal. Didn’t deal with them much, was busy with major aircraft maintenance after they were disarmed, so, yeah, fuzzy memories.

    @ Linoge: I’d throw some money in for that project. That’d be awesome.

    @ Skas: Awesome!

  • @ dave w: Well that rather sucks.

    @ Skas: I dare say AZ’s new legislation should be used as a template for the rest of the country.

    @ Ted N: My plans of researching the details this weekend went to crap. Might have something coherent by the end of the week.