Monday, May 16, 2016

MA: Brockton to Offer $200 gift cards for Working Pistols

Photo courtesy of Charles Tassell

Brockton Massachusetts will be holding their first gun turn in or "buy back" in 22 years. "Buy Back" is a propaganda term; the guns were never owned by the people who are buying them. 

The event is advertised as accepting guns anonymously, no questions asked. This seems to violate Massachusetts law. There may be an exemption for police.  Police will be present; it is unlikely that they would enforce the law against themselves, even if there is no exemption.  From
Carpenter wants to make clear that the program is completely anonymous and there will be no questions asked of those who are handing over guns.

“You walk in, you don’t have to identify yourself, there’s no paperwork. No questions asked. That’s it,” he said.

In exchange for each gun turned in, a $200 gift card to Vicente’s grocery store will be given. The gift cards were paid for using forfeiture money that has been seized by the police from drug arrests and raids that led to convictions.
Gun turn in events have dwindled in most states, but most states have not infringed on private sales.  Private buyers have become common at gun "buy back" events in other states. Private buyers destroy the propaganda message that "guns are bad, and should be turned in to the police". In Massachusetts, it would be risky to attempt a private sale with a heavy police presence at the site. From
  1. It is unlawful to conduct a personal sale or transfer of a weapon to anyone other than an individual lawfully licensed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is strongly recommended that you require the buyer/transferee to produce a valid FID/LTC License Validation Certificate (obtained by the buyer/transferee using this system) prior to conducting a personal sale or transfer.
  2. You may need your PIN number to complete a transaction. You may obtain your PIN number at your licensing authority.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Massachusetts law requires all gun owners to report ALL private sales, transfers, and surrenders of firearms to the Massachusetts Firearms Records Bureau via the Massachusetts Gun Transaction Portal. Paper FA-10 forms are no longer accepted for these transaction types.
I would be leery of attempting to purchase firearms from private sellers at the event, even though the chances of picking up a bargain are quite good. The event organizers are not paying anything for long guns, and a police officer decides if a pistol turned in meets the criteria for the $200 gift card.
* In order to receive a Vicente’s gift card, the gun will be screened by a police officer and determined to be in working order.
* Rifles, shotguns, junk or antique guns will be accepted but are not eligible to be swapped for a gift card in return.
A criminal justice professor and former police officer admits the program is primarily a propaganda measure.
“They’re mostly publicity stunts. It’s not going to affect the crime rate. But it may prevent an individual crime,” said Mitch Librett, a criminal justice professor at Bridgewater State University. “I’ve done a few of these and you’d get 100-year-old revolvers, you’d get shotguns that were rusted so badly that you couldn’t even open them up. They’re people who are usually elderly, who are hurting for money and they bring back a Luger from WWII.”
The professor does not mention that a WWII Luger is likely worth 5 to 10 times the value of the gift card offered. 

Those who have cheap handguns and live in Massachusetts, may find the $200 gift cards attractive.  The funds come from the police.

After the Brockton event, all guns not found on a national data base of stolen guns, will be destroyed, which will add more expense.

In nearby Pennsylvania, a  City Councilperson is using public resources more effectively.  The guns that are collected with his program are sold on the legal market to fund further "buy backs".  From

Deer Park City Councilperson Charles Tassell, who is pro-gun and holds a concealed-carry permit, didn't think that was the best way to run “Street Rescue,” his gun buyback program.

Instead, he turns in the collected guns to federally licensed firearms dealers to be sold to the right hands.

"It’s not my determination of the 'right hands,'" Tassell said. "It’s the federal government's decision."
Gun turn in events, or "buy backs" are dwindling as Second Amendment supporters have learned to negate their propaganda value with private buyers.

The events will linger on in states such as Massachusetts, where private sales suffer under many infringements, or in programs such as Street Rescue, where the emphasis is on efficacy instead of propaganda.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
Link to Gun Watch

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