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Baltimore Woman Says She'll Use Gun Buyback Cash to Pay for an Even Bigger Gun

This might not be what lawmakers had in mind when they created this program.

Over 500 guns were surrendered to Baltimore police within the first hour and a half of a citywide gun buyback program this week. Participants received anywhere from $25 to $500 for their unwanted firearms.

Mayor Catherine Pugh and Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle announced a gun buyback program—the first in six years—last week. Pugh said that the program was intended to "get the guns off of our streets."

The program reportedly cost the city $250,000, but there is little evidence that buyback programs are effective in reducing violence, or even in reducing the number of firearms in circulation—as one woman ably demonstrated.

Kathleen Cairns, a WBFF Baltimore journalist, tweeted a picture of a woman who was surrendering a 9mm. She hoped to use the money from the program to buy an even bigger gun.

There are other ways to game the system as well. For example, the city is offering $25 for every "hi-capacity" magazine turned in. Some digging from Daniel J. Mitchell of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) discovered that such a "hi-capacity" magazine can be purchased online for about $12. The $13 in profit may not seem like much money to some, but it can be the difference between paying for food, rent, a bill, or even a Christmas gift.

Of course, the vast majority of participants of the program are not those with criminal intentions. In fact, interviews revealed that participants wanted to declutter their homes, get rid of old family heirlooms, or simply make a buck.

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  • Rich||

    Pugh said that the program was intended to "get the guns off of our streets."

    "No questions asked", DUH!

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Pugh said that the program was intended to "get the guns off of our streets."

    People like him have never learned the basic economic fact that a policy has to be evaluated by the incentives it creates, not by its intentions.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    How many Tubmans for a High Point gat? I can see a profit there.

  • Zeb||

    Seems like the best bet would be to buy a bunch of cheapo 30 round AR15 mags or something like that.

  • ||

    The way Zuri says "The $13 in profit may not seem like much money to some, but it can be the difference between paying for food, rent, a bill, or even a Christmas gift." makes it seem like you can only trade in a limited number of magazines?

    Is she wrong or am I missing something? Is there a cap on the number of weapons/ancillaries one can surrender? Do they accept all comers?

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Do I have to be a city/state resident?

    I love arbitrage!

  • ||

    I own boxes and springs that hold well more than 30 rounds of ammunition can I get $25 for each of them?

  • Juice||

    You have to be a resident of the city. I'm bummed.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Aluminum D&H mags are going for $6.99 right now, and if you buy 10+ no shipping or tax if you live outside SC.

  • LiborCon||

    $6.99? That's an $18 profit. Why am I working?

  • Henry||

    Sign in the video says a max of two. They may be evil, and they may even be stupid, but they're not brain-damaged.

  • LiborCon||

    Brownells has 30 round AR-15 magazines on sale for $9.99!

    Stock up now to sell for a profit then buy some more to sell for more profit. It's like printing money!

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    I own several of those and among the various brands they are my go too.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The Second Amendment guarantees our right to move ourselves around and even off the government's chessboard.

  • Thrackmoor||

    I love buybacks. In my neck of the woods they offer gift cards and I offer cash. I've bought 3 firearms at buybacks, including a Colt Python for $250.

  • Bender B. Rodriguez||

    You got a hell of a deal, and they got a better price. The free market works!

  • Joe_C||

    Gift cards!? Man. Ours offers cash, but people mostly bring out wall-hangers.

  • perlchpr||

    I definitely have some broken crap (that is still legally "a firearm", because it has a serial number [oh, fuck, I wonder if they'll take 3d printed "ghost guns"?!]) that I'd part with for serious cash.

  • John||

    The same idiots who were behind cash for clunkers because they at least understood it would cause people to replace their old cars with new ones also think gun buy backs will reduce the number of guns in the hands of the public. How can you be so stupid to not understand that people will just sell their old guns and use the money to buy new and better ones?

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    They need to have their Homer Simpson moment, i.e. the episode where he went looking under the sofa for a peanut, pulled out a twenty dollar bill, and moaned in disappointment because it wasn't a peanut.

    Then a voice in his head said: "With a twenty dollar bill you can get many peanuts."
    Homer, out loud: "Explain!"
    Voice in head: "Money can be exchanged for goods and services."

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    A confederacy of dunces; we've all been present at meetings, conferences, or similar "discussions" where a doofus with some juice behind them gets a bright idea, and it all cascades downhill from there with "everyone get with the program." Such "decisions" often have far less than desirable outcomes, but in their mind it's lets do what this before anyone else does, get the grant money, utilize the program, etc. Road to hell = good intentions. I read of one such mess recently that found its way to the Supreme Court [Ferguson v. city of Charleston, 2001], in which they found the City to be guilty of violating the Fourth Amendment. They were conducting drug screens without consent and actually having pregnant women arrested in their hospital beds and remanded to jail if they refused to participate in drug rehab. How the hell could any one in their right mind, from any angle, think this was a "good" idea? Happens all the time.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    "How the hell could any one in their right mind, from any angle, think this was a "good" idea?"

    They don't care if it's a "good" idea or not.

    A: Something must be done about Y.
    B: X is something.
    C: What effect will X have on Y.
    B: No one knows.
    D: Who cares, something must be done, X is something therefore we must do X.
    A: Yes
    B: Agreed
    C: Okay.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    And no naysayers. Everyone hates a naysayer.

  • TechMagick||

    I want to high-five that woman.

  • Dillinger||

    someone buy that woman a bigger gun for Christmas.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    An AR-15 in .50 Beowulf?

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Even shot one? I haven't, but I'd like to.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    I've never even seen one in person, but comparison photos showing 5.56mm NATO rounds next to .50 Beowulf that I've seen on line sure look impressive.

  • Bax||

    No you wouldn't. Not likely. You don't want to be anywhere within 50 feet of that fucker when it goes off. Even with ear protection; the shock wave gets down to the inner reaches of your soul.

  • lap83||

    "In fact, interviews revealed that participants wanted to declutter their homes, get rid of old family heirlooms, or were simply looking to make a buck."

    I'm going to posit that any of those people are more likely to be criminals than the "I'm going to buy a bigger gun" lady.

    It's not like a criminal is going to tell the reporter that they are planning on putting the money toward a getaway car to rob a bank.

    Also, the fact that a criminal may sell their gun doesn't make the program any less retarded

  • John||

    Guns are one of the easiest things to sell in this country. It is why so many people invest in gun safes. There are few things a burgler likes to find in a home than guns.

    So pretty much anyone who is in the ood to sell their guns does so in short order.

  • Duke of url||

    If 'bump stocks' are machine guns, how much will they give me to surrender string, rubber bands and beltloops?

  • Duke of url||

    How do you "buy back" something you never owned?

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    The government owns everything! We have several posters here who will repeatedly explain this to you, along with numerous insults to your intelligence and character.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    No need to name them; I just call them the Trio of Resident Trolls

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    "Trio of Resident Trolls" would be a good name for a band.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    And they should have a band called Billy Goats Gruff opening for them. :)

  • Duke of url||

    Are these transactions completed through a federal firearms licence holders?

  • esteve7||

    How are gun buybacks constitutional? The government is stealing my money to pay for someone else to give up their rights?

    How about we steal from X and pay people who delete their twitter accounts

  • Curly4||

    That sounds good! Go for it!

  • Greg_Cherryson||

    Savage Model 64F semi-auto .22 - $130 (e.g. at cheaperthandirt.com)

    No limit on the number of firearms, according to the web page. The city pays $200 for each.

    A 50%, guaranteed ROI is much better than the Wall Street.

  • Ron||

    makes you wonder how many gun dealers who get saddled with crap guns show up at these buybacks

  • Curly4||

    As far as the large capacity magazines are concerned the banning of them is stupid. If a person can be trusted with a weapon (pistol say) with a 10 round or less magazine why can't that same person be trusted with a 15 or 17 or even a 30 round magazine? Is it ok to kill a person or two but it is not ok to kill 10 or 15 persons?

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    It's a "do something" so politicians can claim the "did something."

    And of course whatever the do is just an incremental step toward doing something more.

  • TGoodchild||

    Get this woman some armor-piercing bullets!

  • pleadthesecond||

    As soon as I saw they were giving $25 per 'high capacity' magazine I thought about buying hundreds of them and making some serious cash. You can get a crate (100) of magazines from Cabela's for $1199.00 [probably cheaper elsewhere as Cabela's prices are expensive] and make yourself a cool $1300/crate, an amazing 108.3% profit margin. The government is so stupid.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Palmetto Arms, D&H 30 rounds $6.99, no shipping or tax [outside SC]. That's $1800 a crate.

  • FiftycalTX2||

    DAMN! I wish I had known about this. I can get blem, dc'd and rejected Magpul 20-30 round mags for about $1. They have THOUSANDS! I could have showed up with a truck load and made a FORTUNE!

  • ||

    Criminals don't bring guns to buybacks...the politicians know this. These things are purely for show. Nothing more...With liberals it's more about feeling right than being right...

  • Enemy of the State||

    If I buy the high capacity magazines on line, can I then just have them shipped to Baltimore and have the $25/pce direct deposited to my account? I prefer to expedite things...

  • Ron||

    I wonder if a person could stand in line and offer to buy guns from people for just a little more

  • Joe_C||

    Yes. I've done it, and so did a commenter above. The police were cool with it in my area.

  • wintroub||

    Of all media outlets, why would Reason perpetuate this government doublespeak [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublespeak] by using the term "buyback"? You cannot "buyback" what you never possessed. These government agencies never possessed the items they are buying up. Is it because "buyback" is a commonly used term?

    Okay, okay, SOME of these "guns on the street" were acquired from government auctions of confiscated/found firearms, but I guarantee that the numbers of these are less than a handful.

  • Flaco||

    Unfortunately, if you look closely at the "interviews" video linked to at the end of the story, you'll see a sign that says there is a limit of two magazines per person.

  • MuneShadowe||

    So family heirlooms worth thousands of dollars one wonders if the gun theft program will pay the actual appraised amount?

  • DaveSs||

    More than likely most of the 'family heirlooms' were department store specials...think Montgomery Wards/Sears single shot shotguns.

    Just because they are old doesn't mean they are all that valuable.

    I rather doubt you'd be able to get much more than $100 for one in a private sale, even in good condition.

  • Naaman Brown||

    I have never seen anyone pull that foolishness around here but I read news and commentary.

    They usually pay a fixed price, sometimes slightly more for a handgun or semi-auto, but they do not appraise the gun. Somefolks will take two pieces of pipe, section of broomstick with a nail and replicate a Filipino slam bang for turn-in purposes.

    At one buyback, a woman turned in a dead relative's Stg44 (German sturm gewehr 1944 the first assault rifle). It was diverted to a museum. If the relative had proper WWII bringback papers constituting gov't registration she could have gotten $30,000 at an honest auction.

    I have read a few instances like the one where a widow got $150 giftcard for hubby's Winchester 97 duck gun a collector would have paid $700 for but the sponsors wanted the gun destroyed and blocked the private buyer..

    Most are just inexpensive guns originally bought for sport or defense decades ago and no longer used.

  • vek||

    WTF. So unfair. Why didn't any of my relatives come back with friggin' STG44s??? That would have been badass.

    But nooooo, all my close family skated on fighting in WWII. Dads dad was too young to fight in the war by a few years, other grandpa was way too young, 3 sets of great grand parents were too old (one was born in Germany, so not sure how well that would have worked out anyway...), and one was exempted as a pacifist for religious reasons. I know of some great uncles that fought in the war, but that's it. Their stupid families probably scored all the sweet Nazi guns, the bastards! My dads dad was technically a Korean war vet, but he lucked out and got stationed state side, so he never even got to kill any commies, so I didn't even get a Chinese AK out of the deal or anything.

    Weak sauce.

  • jtoms70||

    Atta girl.

  • Joe_C||

    I, along with a few friends, went to a buyback here to get cheap guns. We didn't get much for that very reason, most people were just using it to get rid of their old, non-functioning guns. One of my friends did score a nice handgun though, I don't remember what type. I'd also mention that most of the police were cool with us doing that as long as we didn't interfere with their operation, which leads me to believe that they weren't doing it because they thought it was a good idea. It's mostly a photo-op for our idiot mayor.

  • Henry||

    "Of course, the vast majority of participants of the program are not those with criminal intentions."

    That's an odd thing to say… as if selling a gun to buy another gun or buying magazines low and selling them high are crimes.

    Perhaps you meant to say that the vast majority of participants of the program are not criminals turning in illegally-possessed guns.

  • Naaman Brown||

    I have a shotgun I bought for $8. Nobel Model 40 junker Rodney Dangerfield maker no respect. Good for shooting black powder blanks, flares, birdbombs, dragon's breath and other stuff I would not shoot in a decent gun.

    I would not trade it for $200 at a gun buy back. I refuse to participate a fraud and a farce.

    National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council,
    "Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review" (2004)
    Gun Buy-Backs

    Gun Buy-Backs

    Gun buy-back programs involve a government or private group paying individuals to turn in guns they possess. The programs do not require the participants to identify themselves, in order to encourage participation by offenders or those with weapons used in crimes. The guns are then destroyed. The theoretical premise for gun buy-back programs is that the program will lead to fewer guns on the streets because fewer guns are available for either theft or trade, and that consequently violence will decline. It is the committee's view that the theory underlying gun buy-back programs is badly flawed and the empirical evidence demonstrates the ineffectiveness of these programs.

    The theory on which gun buy-back programs is based is flawed in three respects.

    \cont'd\

  • Naaman Brown||

    First, the guns that are typically surrendered in gun buy-backs are those that are least likely to be used in criminal activities. Typically, the guns turned in tend to be of two types: (1) old, malfunctioning guns whose resale value is less than the reward offered in buy-back programs or (2) guns owned by individuals who derive little value from the possession of the guns (e.g., those who have inherited guns). The Police Executive Research Forum (1996) found this in their analysis of the differences between weapons handed in and those used in crimes. In contrast, those who are either using guns to carry out crimes or as protection in the course of engaging in other illegal activities, such as drug selling, have actively acquired their guns and are unlikely to want to participate in such programs.

    Second, because replacement guns are relatively easily obtained, the actual decline in the number of guns on the street may be smaller than the number of guns that are turned in.
    \cont'd\

  • Naaman Brown||

    Third, the likelihood that any particular gun will be used in a crime in a given year is low. In 1999, approximately 6,500 homicides were committed with handguns. There are approximately 70 million handguns in the United States. Thus, if a different handgun were used in each homicide, the likelihood that a particular handgun would be used to kill an individual in a particular year is 1 in 10,000. The typical gun buy-back program yields less than 1,000 guns. Even ignoring the first two points made above (the guns turned in are unlikely to be used by criminals and may be replaced by purchases of new guns), one would expect a reduction of less than one-tenth of one homicide per year in response to such a gun buy-back program. The program might be cost-effective if those were the correct parameters, but the small scale makes it highly unlikely that its effects would be detected.

    In light of the weakness in the theory underlying gun buy-backs, it is not surprising that research evaluations of U.S. efforts have consistently failed to document any link between such programs and reductions in gun violence (Callahan et al., 1994; Police Executive Research Forum, 1996; Rosenfeld, 1996).

    In 2016 the likelihood that a particular handgun would be used to kill an individual in a particular year was 1 in 18,000. More handguns but less murder.

  • BruceMajors||

    Hey sister, go sister, soul sister, go sister
    Hey sister, go sister, soul sister, go sister

  • vek||

    d00d! I hope the progs around Seattle do one of these... I'd LOVE to scoop up a ton of cheapo brand high capacity mags, and then turn around and sell them back to them for double the money! It's kind of scamming tax payers in a way... But from another angle, I'm just regaining a small portion of the money they jacked me for already.

  • DISA Houston||

    They were conducting drug screens without consent and actually having pregnant women arrested in their hospital beds and remanded to jail if they refused to participate in drug rehab.

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