Bloomington, IL Police wanted to collect unwanted and unloved guns at a gun buyback Sunday morning. Guns Save Life, along with The Truth About Guns at the national level, helped boost BPD’s first ever gun “buyback” event to monumental success. Success like they never initially dreamed possible.
How much success did they get? By the 10a.m. start time, they had a line just shy of TWO MILES LONG waiting to get inside to trade their unloved guns for sweet, sweet cash money.
How did it go? They burned through their $50,000 grant from the State of Illinois about thirty cars into that line of two-hundred plus cars stretching two miles…
Then again, the do-gooders in Bloomington paid top dollar for bottom tier junk. At the same time, they must have recognized all of the publicity would make them ripe for fleecing so at the last minute they limited it to four guns per car.
Christian held the pole position for the day. He told me he came out at 5:30. “I couldn’t sleep,” he told me. Excitement kept him awake. He was thrilled to trade some junk for at least $800. That’s real money, even under Biden’s Build Back Better economy. Why, a fella could get a case of .223 for that right now…
While I waited two hours after the start of the event to get into the building to do business, a very pleasant sergeant told me they were burning through cash like mad. “It’s insane.” The first six vehicles through each tagged them for a minimum of $800. Many left with well over $1000.
Translation: They could have burned through a half-million dollars if they had it. Easy. Probably twice that if they ditched the “four guns per car” limit.
No wonder given the bounty paid by BPD. They gave $200 for conventional guns, $400 for ghost guns and $500 for so-called “assault” guns. Given that they used the definitions in the new so-called “Protect Illinois Communities Act,” getting $500 proved rather easy. A lady didn’t need an AR- to collect five bills. A .22 with a threaded muzzle or a barrel shroud would do it. People seemed more than willing to trade a $300 well-shot gun for $500 cash. You could buy a brand new gun and still have $200 left over. Yeah, you wouldn’t be able to screw a fake suppressor on any longer, but life’s full of trade-offs.
While waiting, I passed out some issues of this month’s GunNews Magazine and found a lot of people recognized me. I even recognized some of them. A few laughed and said their copies of GunNews arrived in the past couple of days.
One of them named Eric showed me his “ghost gun.” It was basically a 12-ga zip gun that he put in a box decorated for the season and the event. We all shared a good laugh.
Sadly, they didn’t buy his creative effort to get $400. But he said the box did make them laugh out loud. I knew him and slipped him an extra gun I had for GSL just in case they wouldn’t take his “ghost” product. They took that one.
Sadly, the other GSL member with donated guns for GSL maybe twenty-some cars behind me had to bail after waiting for four hours to get into the event.
A lot of folks wanted to know what took so long. Others were upset there were no bathroom facilities available. For whatever reason, the police acted very protective of the facility. Maybe they worried about getting robbed.
No, the officers weren’t allowing people into the building to use the restrooms or to get out of their cars for any reason. Believe it or not, old men and old ladies to need to pee.
I mentioned that major issue to the chief who stood inside. He supervised the entire operation and he said that people could come inside. “Uh, no. They’re telling people that they can’t use the facilities inside.”
So he asked one of the officers who shook his head “No” at whether or not they were allowing people inside. Whoops. That proved an embarrassing moment for the chief.
I offered my consulting services on how to make a buyback run a whole lot more efficiently and the aloof police chief gave me a litany of excuses. “We’re accredited,” he said.
“Yeah, so is Chicago, Joliet, Peoria and Champaign,” I replied.
“We have protocols.”
“So do they. This isn’t as hard as you guys are making it.”
The only excuse he gave that held any water was that it was their first time at this rodeo.
“That’s why you need someone with experience to help you become more like Chick-fil-A in terms of efficiency.”
Overall, the Bloomington officers all ranged from supremely courteous to downright nice. Including a former neighbor of mine who recent moved to a small town nearby. One gent balked at calling two of the guns I “sold” as “assault” guns, but I pointed out the threaded muzzle on the handgun made it a prohibited gun under the Protect Illinois Communities Act and the barrel shroud did the same for a rifle. He looked up the relevant section on his phone and came back a few minutes later with crispy $100 bills. Easy peasy.
What could have they done better besides having a lot more cash to
squander stimulate the economy with? Processing vehicles at an average speed of one every ten minutes was a huge downer for everyone involved. That made for a lot of irritated people outside. Especially for a two hundred plus vehicles who waited for hours in line only to be told the sponsors ran out of cash after about 30 cars into a two-mile-long line. For those folks, Bloomington Police lost a bunch of love from the goodwill bucket.