Guns Save Life members netted our second biggest haul ever as we once again turned in broken-down, often rust-laden junk for perfectly good cash at a July 13th Chicago gun “buyback.”
GSL will use the proceeds from this event to fund organized youth shooting programs, including sending young people to the nation’s longest-running NRA Youth Shooting Camp in Bloomington.
I serve as GSL’s executive director. On Saturday morning, I and an undisclosed number of my fellow GSL member patriots turned in 23 guns and three pellet guns. Staff at the event mistook one of the pellet guns for a real gun and issued us a total of 24 $100 debit cards and two $10 cards, for a total of $2,420.
The $2,420 marks our second biggest year behind 2012 when we came home with well over $5000 in our biggest haul ever. That event netted us national publicity and gave Chicago’s political leaders a black eye. In fact, they suspended the whole buyback program for at least two years due to fallout from the 2012 event.
Each year that we successfully transact business with the do-gooders in Chicago, we direct our proceeds towards youth shooting programs, including the nation’s longest-running NRA Youth Shooting Camp at Darnall’s GunWorks and Ranges in Bloomington. (2018 photo-rich stories here and here. 2017 stories here and here.)
Unlike last year (see below), this time we had no issues trading unwanted clunkers for cash. The officers ran this year’s operation in a professional manner, without discrimination.
Officer Kandel from the Office of the Superintendent deserves extra praise for pleasantly welcoming people wishing to surrender guns, and she even saw to securing chairs for the elderly and disabled. She served as a very positive public face of the department and did the CPD proud.
Meanwhile inside, a number of officers cleared the guns being turned in. Some appeared to know their way around firearms more than others, but safety has improved dramatically from our first visit to Chicago in the mid-2000s.
Yes, the Chicago Police Facebook page showed Officer Duong holding what looks like an Uzi, however, I didn’t see it myself. It’s unknown if this is an airsoft gun or if someone actually turned in a $2,500+ original for a $100 gift card.
One fellow brought a plastic 55-gallon barrel chock full of junk long guns on a hand-cart but we don’t know if buyback officials accepted them or if he was turned away.
They did have a big sign: “No FFL”. I joked that the big sign meant the CPD didn’t have an FFL to legally “buy” these guns back.
All in all it proved a great day for the good guys as we scooped up $2420 in Chicago taxpayer money that we’re going to use to teach kids about the safe and effective use of firearms. We imagine Chicago’s new mayor Lori Lightfoot will be thrilled.
What happened last year?
Last year, when Guns Save Life members participated in the gun buyback event, I was pulled out of the line by a Sgt. Samuel Dickerson and told that the event was for people in the neighborhood, not outsiders. He told me they would only take two of the eleven guns I presented – or that I could simply leave.
Later, when he saw me snap a photo inside the event, Dickerson took me outside and claimed that a city-run, publicly-financed event being held in a public facility was “private” and photos weren’t allowed. This despite a local TV news crew shooting video.
Furthermore, Dickerson banned me from ever returning to another gun buyback.
Last year, following the all-day trip to Chicago Police Headquarters to file a formal complaint to the Internal Affairs Division in person, I wrote, “You may not remember him – at least by name, but he’s gonna remember me.”
To this day the Chicago Police complaint against Sgt. Dickerson remains open.
Dickerson, a merit promotee within CPD, chose to retire early instead of answering the complaint. Rumor has it he took a job with a suburban department.
Because he left the Chicago Police department in ‘other than good-standing’, he faces a lifetime ban on carrying a gun as a retired cop. Unless, of course, he works 15 years with another department. Otherwise he’ll just have to get a carry license like the rest of us mere mortals.
As I wrote last year, it’s really a shame that an officer like Dickerson can cast a cloud over Chicago’s finest. The rest don’t deserve that. Not one little bit.
At the same time, this year’s event was a very professionally-run operation. As it should be.