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Chicago Buyback Program Duped By Gun Rights Group

August 1st, 2007

scrapmetal.jpgLast week, a gun buyback program sanctioned by the city of Chicago became the scene of a delightfully ironic event that embarrassed gun control advocates and was hailed as a victory for those of us who care about our right to keep and bear arms.

When members of a group called Guns Save Life, also known as the Champaign County Rifle Association, heard about plans by the city to host a gun turn-in at 23 church locations and pay $100 in the form of a prepaid MasterCard for each firearm, they came up with an ingenious plan. Since the organizers of the gun buyback did not place any restrictions on the type or functionality of the firearms they would accept (they only needed to look like “real” guns), the Guns Save Life members pooled together a pile of 23 old, rusty, and practically useless guns estimated to be worth less than $100 actual market value and sold them off for a cool $2300. The details of exactly how all of this transpired are quite hilarious and are described in this forum thread at TheHighRoad.org. The full thread is now five pages long, but I would encourage anyone who believes in the basic rights of self-defense and firearms ownership to read it if you have the time.

The final irony of the story is that most of the money was used to purchase guns and ammunition for the NRA Youth Shooting Camp, a place where young people are taught that gun control is about properly aiming one’s firearm at the target and using it responsibly, not some misguided attempt at reducing crime by banning guns. Most Libertarians realize that buyback programs such as those supported by Mayor Daley do not work because actual criminals are not going to turn in any gun that they could get more than $100 for on the black market (or use to procure more funds through criminal activity). As was observed at the event, most of the people who actually turned in guns were elderly folks who had unused firearms stored in attics or closets and figured that they were better off getting a little bit of money for them instead of just letting them sit there. These people were not exactly criminal types who would have otherwise used these guns to commit crimes or do any real harm.

Surprisingly, the actions of the Guns Save Life group were somewhat controversial with the fiercely pro-Second Amendment forumers at TheHighRoad.org. Although the response was mostly positive, several of the posters criticized the participation in the gun buyback program as somehow helping the “anti’s” by increasing the turnout and making it appear that their program was successful. However, this kind of thinking is rather short-sighted because it misses the bigger picture of ultimate success for the pro-gun rights camp. Our people not only made a complete mockery of this silly program (which can now be publicized on blogs such as this one), but by turning in garbage guns, we soaked up funds from the anti-gun side AND diverted them to a cause that will increase the ranks of responsible gun owners.

The people who are criticizing this as somehow “selling out” to the other side remind me of some of the libertarians and anarchists out there who refuse to vote, join the LP, or otherwise participate in politics for fear of legitimizing the (admittedly corrupt) system. The “Atlas Shrugged” strategy of simply withdrawing support until the system collapses due to lack of interest may sound good in theory, but as long as 90% or more of the people view the State as legitimate, this has no realistic chance of actually working.

At this point, it makes more sense to infiltrate the system through our participation in the hopes of reducing or undermining it while simultaneously using our activism to educate more people about the virtues of individual liberty. Note that this does NOT invalidate or prevent the use of other strategies such as protests, civil disobedience, “monkeywrenching” the system, or even outright revolution. In the case of gun buyback programs such as the one in Chicago, the choice is clear. If we have the chance to participate in the activities of our enemies, make a mockery of their programs, and even earn a profit in the process, then by all means DO IT and use the money and time to help our cause!


2 Responses to “Chicago Buyback Program Duped By Gun Rights Group”

  1. comment number 1 by: Frequent reader

    Excellent points and very funny - hope people see this one!

  2. comment number 2 by: Flu-Bird

    I sure hoped this was also embarassing to that RICHARD DALEY nit-wit that stuffed shirt needs unstuffing at times

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