Seattle’s Gun Buyback Program Nets 3 Street Sweeper Shotguns

by on January 28, 2013
(Photo: Goldy/The Stranger - used with permission)

(Photo: Goldy/The Stranger – used with permission)

The three Street Sweeper semiautomatic shotguns turned in to the Seattle Police Department during this past weekend’s gun buyback program offer a 12-gauge counterpoint to the strangely vocal chorus of naysayers that emerged prior to the event. It wouldn’t “work,” they said — the city would overpay for worthless, rusting, single-shot muskets. (For more like this, I direct you to the Seattle Times comments section.)

In fact, the Seattle Police Department‘s gun buyback event brought in 716 firearms, of which 348 were pistols and 364 were rifles. (Progress? 20 years ago, 95 percent of the guns handed in were handguns. Or not: This time, dozens of firearms handed in were assault weapons.)

Private citizens voluntarily stopped by to hand over their unwanted firearms for gift cards ranging from $100 to $200 (for assault weapons). The buyback was completely privately funded, through donors such as Amazon, Pete Carroll’s A Better Seattle, SEO Moz, UW Medical Center, and the Seattle Police Foundation. The average amount per firearm works about to $95.

The Street Sweepers looked brand new, said SPD’s Mark Jamieson. Because the gun buyback is a no-questions-asked program (at least four of the guns handed in were found to be stolen), he couldn’t say much about why three shotguns classified as “destructive devices” were floating around. The city made out like a bandit on the deal, because — if you can navigate the paperwork necessary to sell one legally — a Street Sweeper’s value is estimated at $1,000 to $1,500.

Made famous by Jack Nicholson’s Joker, the Cobray Street Sweeper is a variation of the South African Amsel Striker, a shotgun designed for riot control. Its revolving cylinder holds twelve 12-gauge rounds. The ATF decided it had “no sporting purpose,” though owners claim to have used it for decimating quail populations. The appearance of three of these restricted weapons at a gun buyback event — one appearing to have a shortened barrel illegal in Washington state — would indicate how porous “gun control” is.

The buyback exceeded the typical 100-guns-per-hour average rate over its roughly three hours of existence, keeping people waiting for over an hour in line. The city spent just over $68,000 of its approximately $80,000 on hand (some $118,000 has been donated thus far), opting to save some funds for a future event.

Gun advocates have seemingly been delighted by an unanticipated side effect of the city hosting a buyback event. “We had a gun bazaar break out on the streets of Seattle,” said an exercised Mayor McGinn at a press conference today. “It’s insane.” Guns were changing hands, he said, with no legal checks. As The Stranger‘s Goldy reports (note his photo of man using a scrawled cardboard sign to announce that he’s a “licensed gun dealer”):

It is perfectly legal to sell a gun for cash on a street corner with no waiting period and no background check. The sellers, whatever their intentions, had no idea whether they were selling to a collector, a dealer, a felon, or a dangerous schizophrenic. This is the so-called “gun show loophole” that Republicans refuse to close.

As if to underscore the theme of guns falling into the wrong hands, the Saturday gun buyback was followed on Sunday by a shooting in a popular Central District bar.

Filed under Crime, News, NEWS_FEATURED

14 thoughts on “Seattle’s Gun Buyback Program Nets 3 Street Sweeper Shotguns

  1. OOOOHHHHHHHHHH!!! you got 3 semi auto shotguns off the street!!!
    congrats, same as any other shotgun out there, one pull of the trigger, one shell fired.

    [This is exactly the kind of idiotic comment that I reference early in the story. Thank you -- ed.]

    • Does anyone else think it is a little strange that they got 3 brand new street sweepers? I mean, I am a firearms enthusiast and I have NEVER seen one of those in person. Not at gun stores, gun shows, firing ranges… Primarily because they are more popular by the leftist media, than they are within gun owner circles. What is to stop off-duty cops from turning in guns from the evidence room or wherever since it is no questions asked??

      • He’s not, Brenton. First, the program collected 716 guns from people who didn’t want them, not three. Secondly, if he (and you) are arguing that you can see absolutely no distinction between a 12-shot semi-auto and, say, a pump shotgun, that’s idiotic. Any gun salesman could point out to you the “benefits” of more rapid fire without reloading, especially when it comes to fumbling for shotgun shells.

        • So what exactly do you feel this buyback accomplished? You seem very proud that they collected 716 guns but………lets do some math. In 2012 the state of Washington averaged 65 NICS checks per 1000 residents. Seattle has about 620,000 people so that’s about 40,300 NICS checks in 2012. This is just an estimate and obviously Seattle itself may be higher or lower than the state average. That’s about 110 per day. We know that NICS checks are not 1 to 1 with gun sales but 70 guns sales per day would be a pretty conservative estimate based on 110 NICS checks. So in about 10 days the entire buyback will be canceled out by new gun sales. As far as the “street-sweepers” I do find it odd that three showed up in the same place given their Destructive Device status. With that said they are hugely over hyped, yes they are a 12 shot semi auto. They are however very slow to reload and a plain old tube fed semi auto shot gun with an 8 shot tube can sustain a better overall rate of fire given it can be more easily reloaded. Throw that in with the fact anybody in Washington can go buy a Saiga S-12 and do a 922r compliant conversion to accept 25rd detachable drum magazines and the whole premise that taking in the 3 “street sweepers” off the street is a great leap forward of public safety is laughable at best.

          • Jerry, it’s a single gun buyback event. Nor is anyone suggesting that this one response is the solution to anything. The point of the story is not that these three guns were taken off the street, but that they were out there to begin with.

        • first, the Street Sweeper is a fixed 12 round drum that cannot be increased. It’s semi auto just like any other semi auto shotgun. It isn’t any faster as you claim. It has to be reloaded one shell at a time and then the drum has to be cranked to wind the spring. It’s a very tedious process.

          BUT what you fail to understand is that for other shotguns, you can buy external drum magazines that hold 20-30 rounds and you can swap them out. A saiga or a pump shotgun with drum mags can fire 20-30 rounds, drop the mag, load in another mag and keep firing.

          Street Sweepers are rare not because they are more deadly. They are rare because they are useless expensive crap. Maybe if people would actually educate themselves on firearms instead of running off emotionally half cocked and letting irrational fears and fear mongering run things, we can actually deal with the real problems of mental health and the rampant drugging of our children for fake diseases.

  2. Did I miss something? Do we have a “street sweeper epidemic” in this country? Who the hell is using street sweepers to kill or rob anyone?

    The value of the buyback depends on what your actual goal was…if your goal was to save lives/prevent crime (which should be your ONLY goal), then the value was essentially zero. Most of the 716 guns collected were broken junk. The odds of any single functional gun (some were collectors items) being used in crime or causing an accident…I will be extremely generous and round up to 1/10000. That is without assuming that in that rare instance one of those guns would have been used in the commission of a crime, that the criminal didn’t look for a gun somewhere else besides Gram Gram’s attic.

    However, if your goal was to introduce HUNDREDS of guns back into the private sector that would have otherwise eventually rusted over in someone’s basement…congrats. The gun buy-back (a.k.a. city sponsored gun show) was a huge success. Private dealers bought up plenty at such a low price that flipping them in the current market (price gouging) will afford them some new arms/ammo for their own personal collection.

    LOL

  3. “As if to underscore the theme of guns falling into the wrong hands…”

    I think you misspelled “As if to underscore the theme of gun buybacks failing to accomplish anything useful…”

  4. Three new (-ish) Street Sweepers, which are specifically classed by name as “Destructive Devices”, and thus *must* be registered with the BATFE for simple ownership.

    Oh wait, anyone want to bet on whether any of the three were legally registered after the DD classification? Or, more likely, they were packed away somewhere and off-the-books. And finally, after 25-30 years or so, they finally get dumped off without all that pesky Federal paperwork or arrest for unregistered DDs.

    Someone decided they didn’t want to be caught holding three felonies… or, I suspect, found them in the belongings of a deceased friend or relative, and see above regarding three felonies.

  5. It will be interesting to see how many guns that were turned in were stolen and if so will they go back to the original owner? It seems most of the guns were old bolt action rifles, old revolvers, and old shotguns, very few were actually “assault weapons”. As for the street sweepers they are not fun to shoot, you will end up with bruised shoulders which is why they were probably turned in. I can’t imagine any criminal gave up any gun unless it was a useless piece of junk. As usual it was all for show and does nothing about the real problem of the criminals or mentally ill getting weapons. It is called a Black Market for a reason.

  6. Hey Michael, how about doing some investigative journalism. 3 matching street sweepers turned in is unlikely because they aren’t something “bad guys” bother with or people buy in bulk.

    See if those street sweepers didn’t come from a police evidence locker. Also check and see how many guns turned in are actually functional and real. How much money was spent to take in a bunch of junk?

    Sorry bud, but the odds of 3 of those anywhere in the US turning up at a gun show is in the same percentage as winning the lottery. I would wager a good amount that those were confiscated in a shipment and just tossed onto the table to try and make this buyback look successful.

  7. So, yes, so far this thread is a good example of the inability of gun advocates to argue logically about their fetish. First, they’re oddly disturbed by the fact that people who have nothing to do with them voluntarily handed over guns they didn’t want to own. Somehow the pro gun people have a dog in this hunt. They don’t. They just feel threatened by everything, which I suppose is why they feel like they need guns in the first place.

    Secondly, all the guns handed in are supposedly junk. You see they all like to use that exact word, demonstrating the groupthink. The actual stats are for Seattle’s last gun buyback that 15% were broken. It’s weird that people so familiar with guns aren’t aware that guns can be fixed, if anyone cares to. But anyway, the “junk” line is a lie. They’re just making shit up. A loaded 50-year-old, a 75-year-old gun will kill you just fine if someone points it at you and pulls the trigger. For some reason, the pro gun people believe the thought process for murder, suicide, or an accidental shooting is, “Wait, wait…is this the newest model Glock?”

    Thirdly, if any of the guns aren’t junk, then it’s a conspiracy. They were planted. Ah. Okay.

    Lastly, the gun buyback program we’re talking about here is just one part of a Gun Safety Initiative. It’s really a drop in the ocean, in terms of the number of guns, but it is clearly good for gun safety in Seattle. See how all the commenters completely skip over that “safety” part? Essentially they’re arguing that people who don’t want guns, who aren’t trained in their use, and aren’t keeping an eye on them, should continue to own them. That’s crazy. It’s a recipe for some little kid finding a gun on a closet shelf, or it getting stolen and no one noticing.

    This is what’s wrong with the “gun debate” in the U.S. People think that they have a side to defend, so even something like a gun buyback has to be seen as an advance or retreat. I don’t have a lot of patience with this. It’s stupid, and it gets people killed. Any responsible gun owner would applaud getting guns out of the hands of someone who doesn’t want that responsibility.

  8. What’s wrong with gun buybacks?

    Nothing, as long as you are OK with watching American Citizens standing in long lines to trade their freedoms for a Government handout.