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Monday, January 28, 2013

Seattle Gun Buyback Collected 716 Weapons in Under Three Hours

Posted by on Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 11:34 AM

A small selection of the 716 guns collected at Saturdays gun buyback event.
  • Goldy | The Stranger
  • A small selection of the 716 guns collected at Saturday's gun buyback event.

"We were not expecting this level of response," Deputy Police Chief Nick Metz says about Saturday's gun buyback event in downtown Seattle. Based on similar events in other cities, officers had expected to take in about a hundred guns an hour. Instead, the program netted 716 weapons—including "dozens" of assault weapons—in under three hours, forcing officials to shut down the event early before they ran out of gift cards.

At the end of the day officials had handed out $68,000 in gift cards in exchange for 348 handguns, 364 rifles, high-capacity ammunition clips, and five hundred pounds of ammunition. By comparison, Chief Metz explained, Los Angeles typically collects that many total weapons in a day running simultaneous events at six different locations. Most of the guns collected were operational, and only four have so far been confirmed to have been stolen.

Things ran relatively smoothly given the unexpected turnout, though there is obvious room for improvement. "Will take on a very in depth after-action review," promised Metz. Officials started turning people away two and half hours in to the scheduled six-hour event, fearing that they would run out of the $80,000 in gift cards on hand. Once they'd served all the people already in line, officials reopened the event for about an hour, but the early closure had already led some people to sell their weapons to the horde of private buyers that swarmed the streets surrounding the event.

"We had a gun bazaar break out on the streets of Seattle outside a gun buyback," exclaimed Mayor Mike McGinn. "This is insane." McGinn said that they did not have the authority to prevent the private sale of guns. He suggested the city might be able to pass an ordinance to prevent gun sales on public sidewalks, "but that just means those sales move someplace where we can't see them at all."

"We need a background check on all gun sales," insists McGinn, "and that's something that can be done at the state level." Yeah. Maybe. But I wouldn't hold my breath.

As for the impact of the event, King County Executive Dow Constantine says he has a simple message: "Hundreds of homes in king county are safer places to live today, with hundreds of unwanted guns out of the house." Some critics have dismissed the effectiveness of the buyback, suggesting many of the weapons were old, but King County Sheriff John Urquhart wasn't biting: "I don't care if a gun is old or new, it's just as deadly," insisted Urquhart. "These are very dangerous weapons," added Metz.

And soon they'll be melted down.


Comments (35) RSS

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Will in Seattle 1
Preemptive surface to air launcher is a one shot post.

Now, what do you REALLY think about this program?
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 28, 2013 at 11:36 AM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 2
I'd love to see direction on what to do with unwanted guns when there isn't a buyback going on. Looking at those huge buckets of ammo, there's clearly demand for gun and ammo disposal. Could someone that wanted their gun melted down just bring it to any police station? (man it sounds like a terrible idea to walk into a police station with a gun and ammo)
Posted by Matt the Engineer on January 28, 2013 at 11:43 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 3
Nobody has ever explained to me what the NRA's mental illness program consists of, but as near as I can tell, it is one of two things: put everybody who might be mentally ill in a concentration camp, or else diagnose everybody and have a background check on all gun sales.

I'm pretty sure they don't really mean put them all in concentration camps. So that leaves universal background checks combined with universal health care. I'm only speculating. What is the gun lobby's plan?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on January 28, 2013 at 11:43 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 4
Now presenting the star of the Seattle gun buyback:

Spent RPG Tube!

"There she is...."
Posted by Theodore Gorath on January 28, 2013 at 11:50 AM · Report this
fletc3her 5
Quite a successful event. I don't think the gun nuts did themselves any favors by swarming around like vultures. Many people probably don't realize that legitimate gun sales actually don't require any background check or even a receipt, but now they will.
Posted by fletc3her on January 28, 2013 at 11:53 AM · Report this
The Seattle Police Department has a policy to accept any unwanted firearms and amunition at any time. You just go to the information desk and tell them that is what you are there for. There is a little bit of paperwork, as you have to sign it over to them, but it is a good and safe way to get rid of "grandpa's" ammo that has been hanging around for years.
Posted by jinxedagain on January 28, 2013 at 11:57 AM · Report this
treacle 8
WFT?!? An RPG tube/bazooka? I can only hope it's 'spent', per Theodore above. Good lord...

And yeah, it would be very useful for the Stranger to publish the everyday mechanism by which someone can turn in a weapon, no questions asked.

Anyway, congrats to those organizing the event, and I hope we'll see more soon, with fewer street gun bazaars outside... o_O
Posted by treacle on January 28, 2013 at 11:58 AM · Report this
Fnarf 9
Actually, work is proceeding on the background check for all gun sales, including private ones. It's far from a shoo-in but it's got traction this time. The vast majority of gun owners including NRA members supports it.
Posted by Fnarf on January 28, 2013 at 11:59 AM · Report this
fletc3her 10
@2 I understand that police will take guns and ammunition off your hands at any time, but I would certainly call the non-emergency number and arrange an appointment rather than just walking in with a weapon. The gun buyback is nice because it gives you a reward and is anonymous, but there's no reason to hold on to an unwanted gun.
Posted by fletc3her on January 28, 2013 at 11:59 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 11

You know that this tube thing cost private donors all of $100, right? You know if some dork walked down the street with that, into a park or mall with it, somebody would call 911, and cops would have to swarm the location. The cost of one 911 call from this kind of thing would be ten times as much, $1000 or more. For one dumbass 911 call. Let alone if somebody threatened somebody with it and committed an actual crime. Plus the fact that is is Army property and policy is for these to never be in civilian hands.

All that potential shit has been avoided, at the cost of a measly $100. Paid for by a philanthropist, not the tax payer. Quit your bitching.

If you hate gun buybacks so much, take your money, take out some ads, find and contact people who have guns they don't want, and buy them. There's literally nothing standing in your way, not even a background check. You and your gun loon buddies buy up all the unwanted guns and no more gun buybacks. Simple.

You're a do-nothing complainer.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on January 28, 2013 at 11:59 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 12

I see from your other posts that you're not really against gun buybacks, but this repetitious bleating about the stinger missile launcher is silly. It's a good thing it's gone. It's a good thing those defective guns are gone too. A damaged and unreliable gun on the street in the hands of an ignorant owner is even worse than a reliable gun. Getting rid of that shit for only $100 in private money is a fantastically cheap price.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on January 28, 2013 at 12:08 PM · Report this
@11, you realize that means somebody who wants to turn in a gun was turned away because somebody spent money on a prop instead, right?
Posted by GermanSausage on January 28, 2013 at 12:09 PM · Report this
sirkowski 14
Is that an RPG or a MANPAD??
Posted by sirkowski on January 28, 2013 at 12:11 PM · Report this
From what it sounds like none of the donated money went to the used missile tube. A private buyer purchased it before the original owner made it to the SPD buy back. Since it is a controlled military device and not available to the public legally (even one that has been used and has no missile in it) SPD confiscated it and are returning it to the army criminal investigators. The only thing that happened is one of the private sales guys lost $100 (which I am fine with)
Posted by Little Red Ryan Hood on January 28, 2013 at 12:22 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 16

Hundreds of people were turned away. The success of this event will attract more donations for future events. And it wasn't a prop. It was controlled military hardware, with the potential to cause public harm.

Maybe you could email your concern trolls to Jeff Bezos and the other rich donors and they will give your opinions all the attention they deserve. Perhaps you can convince them to spend their wealth on designer handbags and Italian sports cars instead of gun buybacks. What with you being so charming and sane. Look at how convincing your arguments have been on slog. Literally ones of people have been turned around by your wisdom.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on January 28, 2013 at 12:24 PM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 17
@11: What? I was making a joke because the thing has been front and center in every picture I have seen of the buyback. Ever seen a Miss America pageant?

I don't care that they bought it, and I do not specifically want it on the streets, but we can at least be realistic about what it really is, and panicking about it is just silly.

You are quite the hammer aren't you, and everyone who does not agree with you immediately 100% is just a big nail, huh?
Posted by Theodore Gorath on January 28, 2013 at 12:27 PM · Report this
Goldy 18
@14 It's a MANPAD. A Stinger, we've been told, with the reusable grip stock.
Posted by Goldy on January 28, 2013 at 12:32 PM · Report this
Lew Siffer 19
The homemade "assault rifle" in the front is ghetto as fuck.
Posted by Lew Siffer on January 28, 2013 at 12:51 PM · Report this
Mattini 20
@5 I'm among those who had heard the term "gun show loophole," but hadn't really thought about what that meant. The complete lack of a background check or any documentation is frightening to me.
Posted by Mattini on January 28, 2013 at 12:52 PM · Report this
I think it's more than a little ironic that a feel-good gun buyback program had the unintended consequence of creating an informal, open-air gun market under a freeway overpass where previously none existed.

How many weapons were sold to private parties, especially after the gift cards ran out?
Posted by CPN on January 28, 2013 at 1:12 PM · Report this
It does not matter what you've been told.
Do you see the YELLOW writing on the "stinger"?
That means that it is completely inert.
While it may have had a missile it is just as likely that it did not and was constructed as a "dummy".

Even if it had a missile and was fired, it still had to be turned in and rendered inert (all useful electronics and any firing capabilities removed) before it was repainted and issued as a training "dummy".

Which is why it is so funny that it is front and center with the yellow lettering prominently displayed.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on January 28, 2013 at 1:26 PM · Report this
Unwanted ammo can always be taken to a Sheriff's office, I believe. When we moved in to our house (Bought from a hoarder, we got a deal because we agreed to do the clean-out) we found a number of useless firearms and lots of ammo. Local law enforcement was very helpful in disposing of the corroded shotgun shells, small mountain of dubious rimfire ammo and several cans of .50 cal and 20mm -no idea where those came from.

If you don't need the motivation of a few bucks in your pocket, the police are probably a good bet- although 'No questions asked' is probably off the table.
Posted by Chris Jury on January 28, 2013 at 1:29 PM · Report this
@16, "with the potential to cause public harm."

I guess if you hit somebody over the head with it...
Posted by GermanSausage on January 28, 2013 at 2:36 PM · Report this
@26, Well, blunt objects do cause a significant number of deaths - more than "assault weapons" at any rate. So, yes, it was clearly a danger to the public. Or maybe the "public harm" would be from the 911-panic calls from people seeing someone walking down the street with it.
Posted by randoma on January 28, 2013 at 3:07 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 28

I can see you guys are going to cling to this to your dying day. It's your Benghazi scandal. Great.

Just remember you guys predicted nobody would show up for the gun buyback, and that all the guns that did get brought in would be junk. As if having unreliable guns floating around was a good thing. Whatever. Your predictions were wrong in every way.

The next gun buyback will be even better funded, and will be just as successful. The gun dorks on the sidewalk will be poster children to help pass universal background checks. You will make several more predictions before all of this comes to pass, and you will be just as wrong as you were about this.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on January 28, 2013 at 3:24 PM · Report this
@28, are you trying to admit that you're wrong, or are you projecting?
Posted by GermanSausage on January 28, 2013 at 3:51 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 31

In the sense that true believers will sit in a circle jerk for years to come telling each other that Benghazi was a huge scandal? And nobody else will be listening because it's not?

Nobody thinks you have a point about this missile launcher. Just like nobody thought you had a point about defining assault weapons. Or whether you say "magazine" or "clip". Nobody's biting. You got nothing.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on January 28, 2013 at 4:05 PM · Report this
@31, you pretending the spent missile launcher and still being unable to define assault weapons doesn't mean I don't have a point, Ph, it just means you're being dishonest and dodging.

As for "you guys predicted nobody would show up for the buyback."

I don't remember anybody actually predicting that. I remember a lot of people predicting that it would be completely ineffective in preventing shootings.

How many hours was it between the buyback and the Twilight Exit shooting?
Posted by GermanSausage on January 28, 2013 at 4:12 PM · Report this
sirkowski 33
@32 You think prevention is just the matter of one single action? You must be the kind of retard who yells that Global Warming is a NWO conspiracy when it's cold in the winter.
Posted by sirkowski on January 28, 2013 at 8:01 PM · Report this
Well done Goldy!
Posted by MisterAdeline on January 29, 2013 at 1:29 AM · Report this
dirac 36
@32 This "you can't define 'assault rifle'" talking point stinks. Please don't dredge up that sewer water anymore. I am pretty left leaning by most slog standards but I am not even sure on the effectiveness of gun control (vs. reforming a culture of violence that goes "meh" when the president assassinates American teenagers far away from a battlefield --you know might induce a collective cognitive dissonance). I mean this post and thread looks a little too much like stereotypical "liberal" back-patting.

But no one can take the NRA-type arguments seriously. Posing as a pseudoexpert in firearms and then repeating that boring talking point doesn't ingratiate anybody to your views.
Posted by dirac on January 29, 2013 at 7:43 AM · Report this
My father -in-law was a WWII vet and he had an old pistol from his soldier days. When he died and we had to clean out his apartment, we called the Gig Harbor Police Dept and they were happy to take it off our hands. My advise is: call ahead and tell them you're coming.
Posted by Emily68 on January 29, 2013 at 7:49 AM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 38

Thank you for destroying a valuable family heirloom and a piece of United States history that was used to fight Fascism. Poor old soldier is probably spinning in his grave.

We netter a PolyTech Legend, a pre '32 Browning Auto 5, a WWII era Star 9mm with no import marks (probably a vet bring back) and a High Standard Sport king from the early 50s.

All are collectable, historical and antique firearms, pieces of American History saved from the furnaces of those who would deny us our rights.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on January 29, 2013 at 8:57 PM · Report this
many of the guns on that table are props for a photo op. those three "street sweepers" Armsel Striker shotguns, those guns retail for $1,500+ and are extremely rare. these shotguns are so rare that in all the gun stores and gun shows ive ever been to, I'VE NEVER SEEN ONE in person. so do you really think that there was someone (or three individuals) out there that had three of these guns and 1)didnt want them, and 2) were willing to hand em over to police to be melted down in exchange for a $200 gift card? total BS, these weapons are a bunch of props put out to make the buyback look like it has been successful at taking "assault weapons" off the streets. in reality is meant to put a positive spin on disarming the public.
Posted by birm2831 on January 31, 2013 at 5:41 PM · Report this
GeneStoner 40
Hoplophobia , (pronounced [ˌhopləˈfoobiə]),
From the Greek hoplon, or weapon, is defined as the "fear of firearms" or alternatively, an irrational fear of weapons in general, and describes a specific phobia.

Ya'll need to seek help. Ya gots issues...
Posted by GeneStoner on February 1, 2013 at 7:07 PM · Report this

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