Saturday, November 11, 2023

New Mexico Gun Turn-in Events "buyback" Disappoints Many

Long guns turned in by individual at Dallas event October 2023 


On Saturday, November 4, 2023, New Mexico held three simultaneous gun turn-in events, also known by the Orwellian term "buyback". Items cannot be "boughtback" if they were never owned by the entity purchasing them. The events were decided on by executive order from Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. It is unclear where the money for the gun turn-in event came from. A query to the New Mexico State police has remained unanswered. Several cities are using money created by the Biden administration in the American Rescue Plan for gun turn-in events "buybacks". Elpaso has dedicated $300,000 for such events. The New Mexico events handed out about $73,200 in gift cards on November 4.

Many people were disappointed with the gun turn-in events, waiting in long lines, with the gift card running out in the first hour or two. At the Albuqurque event, from

Participants tell News 13 that the line to get into the event was like a parking lot. “You sit in your car for an hour and a half you know for 200 dollars for one pistol, {laughs}, and you burn a lot of gas while you’re waiting too,” Ledbetter said.

State Police told gun owners they could still leave their weapons even though the money had run out. “I wasn’t going to do that and nobody else was either. Cause everybody was heading for the gate and leaving,” Morgan said.

Some tell News 13 the event should have been planned better. “The governor sponsored this thing…It didn’t go smooth. They said it was. It was just a fiasco,” Morgan said.

In Las Cruces, a participant posted on Craigslist to report on their disappointment.  From Las Cruces Craigslist:

 Poor planning on the part of our state police at this event. Dozens of people lined up before the event even started at 8:00 AM and the event was over before 9;00 AM. The event was scheduled to run until 2:00 PM. I was about 20th in line when I arrived at 7:45 AM but the line never even moved until they started telling folks that the event was over. They said that they ran out of funds. Organized by our joke of an organization: New Mexico State Police.

The New Mexico State Police entered a press release on Facebook:

People anonymously handed in unwanted firearms and received Visa gift cards in return. Buybacks were intended to prevent unwanted or unneeded weapons from causing harm or being used to commit acts of violence.

A total number of 439 firearms were collected from the event. 279 firearms were bought back from the three locations. Albuquerque collected 56 handguns and 54 rifles. Las Cruces collected 31 handguns and 56 rifles. Espanola collected 19 handguns and 63 rifles. After all gift cards from the three locations were distributed, 160 more unwanted firearms were handed in.

The total number of handguns collected from the three locations was 179, and the number of rifles collected from the three locations was 260.

 Out of 439 firearms collected, 2 stolen firearms were recovered.

When the numbers from the press release are added up, there were 106 handguns and 173 long guns turned in for gift cards. The amount of those gift cards comes to $73,100, one card different than the 732 reported by The 160 firearms which were reported turned in after the gift cards ran out would have consisted of 73 handguns and 87 long guns. While the report only says "rifles" it is not reasonable to believe no shotguns were turned in.

No private buyers were reported at the events. This is not surprising, because the Grisham administration managed to outlaw most private sales in 2019. The ban has been widely ignored in most counties in New Mexico. Ban on private sales in New Mexico:

In the first year since that law went into effect on July 1, 2019, court records show that no one was charged with violating the law. “We spent a lot of time, a lot of resources and a lot of money trying to enact this law that’s done absolutely nothing,” said Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace.

As the president of the New Mexico Sheriffs’ Association, Sheriff Mace has been an outspoken opponent of the legislation since lawmakers proposed it in the Roundhouse. Still, when she signed it into law, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham seemed confident that even sheriffs who opposed it would get on board.

 “They will enforce this law,” she said. “They will do their job and duty.” However, one year later, Sheriff Mace still told KRQE News 13, “We’re not enforcing it.”

At a highly visible event, such as a gun turn-in, run by the State Police, private buyers were not willing to risk arrest. Of the 439 firearms collected during the three events, only two were found to have been reported as stolen. From

 Police check each firearm that's turned in just in case they are stolen. Overall, Vargas said the event was a success with all locations running out of gift cards before 10 a.m. and collecting almost 440 firearms total, two of which were stolen.

The vast majority of firearms turned in at these events are not found to have been stolen. In a recent Madison, Wisconsin event, no stolen firearms were found among the 483 turned in. In the enormous gun turn-in event in Phoenix, in 2013, four guns were found to have been stolen out of almost 2,000. Guns found to have been stolen at these events are less than 1/2 of one percent. Prosecution for possession of a gun which the purchaser did not know was stolen almost never happens.

©2023 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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