Private Gun Buyers Infiltrate Seattle Law Enforcement Gun Buy-Back Program


Gun buy-back programs are kind of stupid in that they don’t really accomplish anything, as research has shown. Even for those who believe (wrongly, in my opinion) that fewer guns means less crime and violence, it has to be obvious that the only people ditching their guns for $200 gift cards are a) people who have guns that aren’t worth much more than that on the private market or b) people who have no idea what their guns are really worth.

But that doesn’t stop law enforcement agencies from making a big show of these buy-backs anyway. Because often it’s less about outcomes than the theater of it. It satisfies public outcry for “do something.”

Anyway, something interesting happened at a buy-back in Seattle. Private gun buyers showed up offering better deals than the cops for some of the guns, ensuring that those guns which still have value don’t get destroyed:

The Seattle Police Department held its first gun buyback event since the 1990s this weekend, offering people gift cards for their firearms. However, dozens of private buyers showed up in an effort to acquire the guns using the so-called gun show loophole, which allows guns to be sold without a background check.

Hundreds of people showed up Saturday morning to give their rifles and shotguns as well as semi-automatic rifles to police in exchange for gift cards worth $100 and $200 respectively, KING 5 reports. The police planned to destroy the guns and use them as rebar in local construction projects.

Meanwhile, a number of private buyers set up a makeshift gun show-style event and offered cold hard cash for guns and even lured customers with donuts.

“I pay cash, I don’t give Amazon gift cards,” one dealer told a gun seller.

“It’s a historical firearm, I would hate to see it get destroyed. I’ll give you $100 cash for it,” another buyer offered a gun owner.

Many held up signs that let gun owners know they would pay cash for unwanted firearms.

“I’d rather see it turned back into the gun community used to promote shooting sports,” one man told KING 5.

You gotta love capitalism.

Rob Port is the editor of, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from 1-2pm weekdays.

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