ChicagoBuyBackGunsSaveLifev2 - 4

Guns Save Life loves Chicago's gun buybacks.  Three times in the past dozen years or so, the scrappy Illinois gun rights group has sold rusty junk to Chicago's taxpayers, and then used the proceeds to send young people to an NRA gun camp.  Saturday, Guns Save Life pulled it off again.

Yes, we dumped our junk for their perfectly good money deep in the heart of Rahm's Paradise by the Lake.  Not only that, but a Chicago PD sergeant banned me from ever again participating in a gun buyback.

Six years ago, Guns Save Life scored a grand slam at Chicago's then-annual "Don't Kill A Dream, Save A Life" gun "turn-in" event.  Not only did GSL bring home over $6,000, but the delicious irony of using a gun buyback to fund kids to a National Rifle Association Gun Camp brought widespread international publicity to GSL.  At the same time, it gave a major black eye to Mayor Rahm Emmanuel's massive, city-wide gun buy back events.

In fact, GSL's success in 2012 ended the program where the city spent upwards of a million dollars it didn't have to "buy back" something the City never owned.  What's more, the Mayor and his minions claimed the buybacks rid the community of unwanted guns.  Maybe so.

Today, in a scaled back buyback with Chicago offering $100 per gun, no questions asked, GSL returned.  While a supervisor refused to accept all eleven of the guns my pregnant bride and I offered to the program, other intrepid GSL members met with more success.  All told, we came home with quite a haul.  I'm still not done opening envelopes.

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The guns we “surrendered”?  Many looked like they came from or before the Prohibition era.   Even the ones didn't require a hammer to open the action may have looked good but they lacked functionality.  Meanwhile others fired now-obsolete cartridges back when they worked.  While the guns we gave them would not shoot, they would make great stick-up guns.  At least until the user stuck up someone with a real gun.

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In the end, while I didn't unload all sixty-plus guns carted up to the Windy City, we did well.  Very well.

What I saw

My wife and I showed up right at 10am, when the event opened.  Already dozens of folks stood in line.  At the same time, Chicago police officers milled about in force.  We felt very safe in a marginal neighborhood thanks to Chicago's finest.  A couple of the officers had tac vests that identified them as from the "Superintendent's Office".  One gold star also sat inside.   A neatly-dressed guy's ID labelled him from the press relations or something similar.  I avoided him.


Right out front, I saw this truck (above).  At first I thought it was another gun owner taking advantage of the Windy City largesse.  However, looking at the license plate, I think it belongde to one of the cops.

Interestingly, this was the first Windy City buyback where at least a couple of cops looked skilled handling guns.  In the past, oftentimes the officers looked as skilled at opening various actions as solving a Rubik's Cube.

GSL Chicago Buyback 4

And right behind the "Salty"-plated pickup sat a CPD squad car… parked right in front of the fire hydrant.

GSL Chicago Buyback 1

After waiting outside for about twenty minutes (and getting filmed by NBC5 Chicago), I finally got a peek inside.  The cops had everyone sitting in a big room waiting.  And waiting.

GSL Chicago Buyback 2

The big guy with the brand new LA Police Gear Tactical Pants seemed in charge.  His vest indicated that he too hailed from the Superintendent's Office.   (For what it's worth, 5.11 pants may cost more, but they wear more comfortably.  And your backup piece doesn't bang against your knee if you carry it in the cargo pocket.  Hence why my LAPG pants are now relegated to lawn mowing.)

Most guns turned in, and the people turning them in, were typically quite old seasoned.  Often the guns had as much rust as their owners had grey hair.  Of course, this time I did see some decent guns among the endless parade of revolvers people surrendered.  One, a round-butt Smith & Wesson K-frame looked in really good shape, dropped off by a well-to-do looking African American woman.   Twenty minutes later, a Caucasian couple turned in a bolt-action centerfire rifle in good shape, a second scoped bolt gun possibly a rimfire and a semi-auto Browning Auto 5 or a knockoff.  Any one of those three guns would probably fetch $300 on consignment at any local gun shop.

At the same time, I saw a never-ending string of old revolvers, rusty .22 rifles and break-open, single-shot shotguns.  Someone brought in a Bersa semi-auto in its box.  One person brought about twenty pounds of ammo along with their two handguns.

GSL Chicago Buyback 3 Sgt Dickerson

And meet Sgt. Dickerson, the guy picking up a box full of guns.  Sgt. Dickerson stopped the process when he overheard that I had eleven guns.  He pulled me outside and said, and I quote, "This event is for the neighborhood, not outsiders."

Oh, you mean like white folk aren't wanted or especially welcome?  Remember, he didn't know my name or where I lived.  However, as a white person I'll admit I looked like an outsider in the very poor, African-American neighborhood.

He continued:  "We'll take two of those, but you're gonna have to take the rest back to your car.  Or you can take them all home with you."

So I got my two $100 VISA cards.  As I walked out, I stopped to take a photo of the table where they worked to identify make, model, caliber and serial numbers of the guns turned in.  Sgt. Dickerson didn't like that.

"YOU!  Come with me!" he barked.

We walked outside.  He explained that I could not take photos inside.

I replied:  "But this is a public place and a public event.  Nobody has a reasonable expectation of privacy here."

"No, this is a private event and the people in there don't want their pictures taken," he gruffly shot back at me.

"So what about the TV cameras?" I asked calmly.

"They have permission!  Look.  You cannot come back to one of these ever again.  Don't ever let me catch you coming back again," Sgt. Dickerson said sternly.  I wondered if this is what black folks felt like back when cops explained their local Sundown laws to them.

The look on my face must have expressed my thoughts clearly, or Sgt. Dickerson had ESP.  "Or what?" I thought.

After a pause, he continued:  "If I catch you at one of these events again, you will be turned away."

"You mean like last time when I got turned away because I was white?" I thought to myself.

I tried not to even grin.  "Yes, sir," I said solemnly.  "Am I free to go?"

And he sent me on my way.  He didn't even ask for my name!

Minutes later, after collecting packets of envelopes from my fellow GSL members, the wife and I passed by the front door.  I slowed long enough to thank the officers out front and we drove home.

So, thank you Rahm.  We enjoyed transacting business with you and your minions.  Better still, Mr. Mayor, you can feel good about helping to educate the next generation of gun owners in the Prairie State.

13 thoughts on “YES, AGAIN! Guns Save Life Trades Junk for Cash At Chicago’s Saturday Gun Buyback!”
  1. I was there in line when he marched you outside, I thought he still had guns.

  2. I realize you are turing cash for programs but I hope your not turning in repairable guns. 

  3. From Secondcitycop:

    Racist Guns?


    Evidently, all guns are NOT created equal:

    Off Topic: yesterday a friend who is retired went to the southside gun turn in, he is a male white. While standing in line with his turn in's a M/1 Sgt. came up to him in line and ask him how man he was turning in,he told him seven. Sgt. said two that's it. M/1 in front of him turns in 8 no problem. Friend walks up to turn them in and M/2 P.O. from the range who over stood his welcome there R.L. started to give him a hard time. Ofc. calls over Sgt. told him no way you have to leave were not taking any from you. It's sad to say it's over shame on the Sgt and the Ofc.

    Only certain people are allowed to turn in weapons? We're confused.

    1. Turning someone away from any public event due to race should be worth about $1 million civil rights damages.  The US Supreme Court has already ruled against racial profiling.




  4. I am very concerned about you guys.

    You do know its possible to fix a gun.(right)? 

    I have seen guns that were very rough brought back to life. Bent barrels, cracked stocks, missing parts and more can all all be fixed 

    The first step is to shut the stupid TV off and start reading whating video's on how to fix your guns.

    There are dozens of web sites based on repairing and building guns. The vast majority of people on those sites will help walk you through the steps  needed to fix your guns. 

    Have you ever heard of gun parts corp or about a half a dozen other gun parts sources. 

    Do any of you own a lathe or a mill? How about a tig welder or mig welder or just a old buzz box welder. 

    You know you can make parts.

    For God sakes people guns dont grow on trees, A day will come that you will need those guns,

    1. Standing offer:

      If anyone wants to take these Chicago-bound guns and repair them, I'll give you as many as you can take for a $100 donation per gun to GSL. 


  5. Your famous SCC has you on. You need to Explain Your position . Not ALL Cops are with tiny or Special Ed

  6. Did you sufficiently "dress down" for the event, to maybe at least try to better fit in?

  7. Sgt. Dickerson is a disgrace to his badge. He treats law abiding citizens like this due to skin color, where they come from, or other problems in his own head. He's the kind of cop that tries to intimidate and threaten people and I'm sure people in his neighborhood avoid calling or talking to police because of this.

  8. Sue Sgt Dickerson and City of Chigo for $1,000,000.  Offer to settle for $100,000.



  9. I live in greater grand crossing, so next time you do this you could transfer a bunch of these to me, I'd be happy to help. My thought is they wouldn't turn me away since I live here. I'm also a white guy, so if they say I'm "an outsider" they will have to clarify since I live in the neighborhood. Bravo on this. At least my ridiculous, over-assesed property taxes are going to a good cause for once.

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