Gun Collectors Find Arbitrage Opportunities in "Gun Buyback" Programs

Some residents turn in rare pistols worth much more than what they get in return


When Schuyler Taylor attended a gun buyback program in Seattle last year, he wasn't hoping to turn in an unwanted firearm for a $50 gift card. He was looking to pay cold cash for a rare weapon.

Taylor, a 24-year-old gun enthusiast, is one of a growing number of collectors who has been showing up at the events, where towns, police departments, churches and nonprofits offer money or gift cards for old guns. The events have been held all over the country, credited by some for getting weapons off the streets and ridiculed by others for paying money for rusting junk. But collectors have taken notice that some of the guns, which are typically destroyed, are worth far more than they fetch at buyback events.