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.