Scamming the government for big bucks during gun buybacks

Since gun buybacks are now back in vogue in many cities, it’s always worth looking to see how they’ve worked out. The recent one in Baltimore actually netted some functional weapons, though most were older, bolt-action hunting rifles and small caliber models. Still, even with that limited success, there were people showing up who didn’t seem to be embracing the spirit of the event. As we noted at the time, one woman showed up with her older 9 mm handgun to take advantage of the high prices being paid so she could go get an upgrade.

Clever lady. But she can’t hold a candle to one man in Missouri who showed up for a similar buyback program. Rather than bringing actual, commercial firearms to the party, he welded together some “guns” out of scrap metal and went to see if he could convince the cops to pay top dollar for them. The results were impressive. (Law Enforcement Today)

A Missouri man sold his firearms made out of scrap metal and garbage to a gun buy-back program… and then used the money to buy a real gun.

We call that man a “patriot”.

YouTuber Royal Nonesuch made a quick $300 by taking 3 firearms that he’d built out of scrap and selling them back to the state of Missouri. He described two of the pipe guns as the ‘crappiest guns I’ve ever made’ but was still able to successfully sell them off to the program.

Watching the video that Nonesuch posted, it was immediately clear that the coordinators of the events did not plan or organize as well as they should have. You can see him walk up to a man in a car to get the cash, who relayed information by yelling to another event coordinator.

There used to be a YouTube video of the guy pulling off this trade but it was taken down for violating YouTube’s terms of service, apparently for mentioning the word “gun.” Still, there’s at least one photo at the link of the products he was turning in. Even at a quick glance, nearly anyone should be able to tell that it wasn’t a viable firearm. And yet the event coordinators took it without question and paid him top dollar. He then used that money to buy a new, actual firearm.

I’m not here to say that gun buyback programs are inherently “evil” or even unconstitutional. The municipalities holding these events have their hearts in the right place. They’re hoping to get illegal firearms off the streets, and God only knows we need more progress in that area.

What I am saying is that the programs are glaringly ineffective and may even produce unintended and negative results. As the author of the linked article points out, the vast majority of the “contributions” showing up are broken or outdated firearms turned in by legal owners. Plus, there are probably a few people like the guy in that article who are running scams. They’re getting more cash than the weapons would bring on the open market and, as often as not, they’re putting that money into an upgrade.

But what about the possibility of something more nefarious? With those “no questions asked” policies in place, an actual criminal with a broken or otherwise defective weapon could also stroll up and receive top dollar for his handgun. (They always pay more for handguns than hunting rifles.) Then he can simply go back out on the black market and use that cash for an upgrade.

When you consider it from that perspective, are these gun buyback programs really worth the money the cities are pouring into them? Is the net number of weapons out on the streets going down at all? It certainly doesn’t seem so.