Gun Buyback Follies: Bloomington Police Burn Through $50,000 Only 30 Cars Into a Two Mile Long Line

by Tommy Grant

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In the latest instance of municipal “gun safety” theater, Bloomington, Illinois Police announced that they’d be collecting unwanted and unloved guns at a gun buyback Sunday morning. Thanks in part to TTAG and Guns Save Life publicity along with an assist from local media, they got a big response.

The BPD had a $50,000 grant from the State of Illinois for the even. It lasted less than three dozen cars into a two-mile-long line of cars, each filled with people waiting to grab some holiday cash.

Then again, the do-gooders in Bloomington were paying top dollar for the bottom tier junk most of us brought with us. They must have recognized that all of the advance publicity would made them ripe for fleecing so at the last minute they limited the buyback to four guns per car.

I showed up at 8:30 a.m — 90 minutes early — and was vehicle #14 in line. Christian, the guy at the head of the line, told me he showed up at 5:30 a.m. “I couldn’t sleep,” he told me. Excitement kept him awake. He was thrilled to trade some junk for at least $800.

By the 10:00 a.m. start time, the line of cars waiting to go inside the firehouse to sell their unloved iron to the police had grown to two miles.

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 at least $800. Many left with well over $1000.

BPD was paying $200 for conventional guns, $400 for ghosties and $500 for so-called “assault” guns. Given that they used the definitions in the new so-called “Protect Illinois Communities Act,” getting $500 per gat proved rather easy.

A lot of us showed up with the intent to use Rule #4 of Alinski’s Rules for RadicalsMake the enemy live up to its own book of rules.

While waiting to get in, I passed out some issues of this month’s GunNews Magazine and found that a lot of people recognized me. I even recognized some of them. One of them named Eric showed me his “ghost gun.” It was basically a 12 gauge zip gun that he put in a box decorated for the season and the event.

We shared a good laugh. Sadly, they didn’t buy his creative effort to get $400, but he said the box made them laugh out loud.

Sadly, the other GSL member with donated guns for the organization who was about twenty cars behind me had to bail after waiting for four hours.

A lot of folks wanted to know what was taking so long. Others were upset there were no bathroom facilities available. For whatever reason, the cops were very protective of the facility. The officers weren’t allowing people into the building to use the restrooms or to get out of their cars for any reason once inside. Maybe they were worried about getting robbed of all that donated cash.

Overall, the Bloomington officers 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 couple of minutes later with crisp $100 bills.

Processing vehicles at an average speed of one every ten minutes made for a lot of irritated people. Especially for the two hundred-plus vehicles who waited for hours in line only to be turned away when the sponsors ran out of cash. The early birds Sunday were the only ones to get the worms.

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