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Sneaking for Sneakers

2000 by David Codrea

News item: A Brooklyn gun buy-back program had to be altered when court officers attempted to cash in by turning in their old service revolvers. One officer collected $1,500 by turning in six guns...(Source: New York Daily News)

That gun "buy-back" programs are lauded by extremist anti-Constitutional politicians and their co-conspirators in the media should not surprise anyone. After all, logical argument and concern for the repercussions of their assault on our liberties have never been the long suit of the "gun control" crowd and their "useful idiot" followers. As with much of what they promote, it should also be expected that such programs will result in exactly the opposite of what is being promised, i.e., increased violent crime; only this time, the state will be an accessory.

Self-styled societal saviors would have us believe that "all kids...killing other kids" really want is a voucher for a pair of Reeboks, and in order to get them, they will gladly turn in their stolen murder weapons. The theory goes, if you give these young worthies their pumps, further tendencies toward a lifetime (and in many cases, generational) pattern of sociopathic predation will then be channeled into more constructive urges. Of course, if that's all it takes, why not cut to the chase and issue Federal Sneaker Stamps?

The expectation appears to be that you can remove a man's incentive to rob, rape or kill you if you anticipate his "needs" and then fulfill them, although the exact position of high tops with blinking heel lights in Maslow's hierarchy (think back to Sociology 101 here) is debatable. That this amounts to appeasement without limit (seems a guy named Chamberlain tried that tack over a place called the Sudetenland, but I digress) has not seemed to occur to anyone promoting this ridiculous premise.

And while the thought of using taxpayer funds is demonstrably an act of criminal malfeasance at best, if privately endowed civic luminaries wish to swap athletic shoes, theater or sporting event tickets or even cash for guns, that's their business, right? Absolutely, the free exchange of private property is the bedrock of our economic heritage, but therein lies the rub. Exactly whose property is being exchanged?

Y'see, with no questions being asked, a new outlet for selling stolen property with impunity (and a new incentive for stealing it in the first place) has been created. And who's the fence?

Why, the police, of course! You know, the folks who "protect and serve." It may not be out of line to ask just who they're protecting and serving here.

And do the authorities administering the gun turn-in programs then have a responsibility to check out the "redeemed" weapons, maybe match them against stolen firearms reports and see if they can be returned to their legitimate owners? Or to run ballistics checks on suspect guns to see if they can be tied into ongoing murder investigations?

And if a murder weapon can be traced back to the person who turned it in, will the well-advertised promise of "no questions asked" provide amnesty by guaranteeing that the evidence is inadmissable? And of more immediate, vital interest to him, will he get to keep his new shoes?

Take comfort, though. Most of the guns will not be brought in by career criminals eager to amend their wicked ways in exchange for stylish footwear. Rather, many people will realize that anyone willing to give them something of value for that rusty .32 they're afraid to fire and don't have ammo for anyway, or Dad's old Enfield with the broken whatchamacallit that's been collecting cobwebs for the last forty years, must have more missing screws than the junk they're turning in. Or maybe, as in the Brooklyn case cited at the start of this article, the savvy traders will be police officers cashing in old service revolvers because the department issued them new semiautos and let them keep their previously-issued sidearms.

That violent crime will not be reduced a whit, that the thin blue line will not be getting any thicker when police resources are distracted from their real mission with this politically correct lunacy, that none of this makes any sense whatsoever just doesn't matter when weighed against the dogma of anti-gun zealotry.

The forces at work to repeal the Second Amendment tender noble motives and carry time-honored titles such as President and Senator, Editor and Reverend. Professionally coiffed and made up talking heads smile and joke about the weather, the big game, or whatever, and mimic deep understanding, sincerity and authority as they recite from the agenda of carefully crafted and orchestrated propaganda displayed on a teleprompter. The "buy-back" scam is just one more front for their assault on our rights, one more opportunity to spread lies.

Don't let them get away with it. Insist that all stolen property can be returned to it's owner. Insist on prosecution of those trafficking in plunder. Insist that weapons determined to have been used in crimes be impounded for evidence rather than melted down, and that their redeemers account for how they came to possess them.

Then, by all means, as long as they are privately financed, let these stupid little people conduct their stupid little exchanges. Hell, I saw a new .25 on sale for $69.00 last week; seems I can get certificates, merchandise or cash for two, three times that much, easy...


A while back, I received a question from a visitor regarding gun buyback programs. He informed me that his local police department had collected, among other firearms, prohibited weapons, and wanted to know if they could legally possess and dispose of them without involving BATF, or if their doing so would violate federal law.

Wanting to find out, I approached the source:

24 September 1999

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
Office of Liaison and Public Information
650 Massachusetts Avenue, NW.
Room 8290 Washington, DC 20226

SUBJECT: Gun "Buyback" Programs

What is the Bureau's position on gun buyback programs, specifically where controlled weapons affected by NFA 1934 are involved? The hypothetical situation I am inquiring about involves a police department accepting sawed-off shotguns on a "no-questions-asked" basis, providing the person turning them in with a gift certificate, and then destroying the weapons in question.

Is there a legal obligation to advise/report to BATF or can the local law enforcement agency dispose of them as they see fit?

Thank you,

David Codrea

This is the response that I received:

[stamp] Nov. 8 1999
901040: CAF

Dear Mr. Codrea:

This is in response to your letter dated September 24, 1999, regarding the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' (ATF) position on gun buy back programs.

ATF has no objection to State and local gun buy back programs. However, we are not participating in any such programs at this time.

We recommend that if law enforcement officials conducting such programs come into possession of a firearm subject to the National Firearms Act (NFA) 26 U.S.C. Chapter 53, they contact their local ATF office for assistance in disposing of the weapon. NFA firearms include machineguns, short barrel shotguns, short barrel rifles, silencers, and certain concealable weapons.

We hope that this information proves helpful. If we can be of further assistance, please contact us at (202) 927-8330.


Kent M. Cousins

Chief, National Firearms Act Branch


As you can see, my question of whether this was a requirement/legal obligation was avoided, and he instead referenced his recommendation. He can recommend that I don't wear stripes and checks in the same outfit, but that doesn't have the force of law. What I'm trying to find out is if some of these locals intent on destroying our rights are, in the process, violating federal law and subject to criminal prosecution.

I sent Mr. Cousins the following:


21 November 1999

Kent M. Cousins
Chief, National Firearms Act Branch
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
Washington, DC 20226-0001

Ref: 90140:CAF 5340

Dear Mr. Cousins,

Thank you for your response to me date stamped Nov. 8 1999.

You will recall that I asked you about the requirement for local law enforcement participating in gun buy back programs to report firearms subject to NFGA 26 U.S.C. Chapter 53 that may come into their possession as the result of such a program.

Your reply indicates that you "recommend enforcement their local ATF office for assistance in disposing of the weapon."

Mr. Cousins, what I am trying to determine is if your recommendation is backed by force of law. Is local law enforcement free to ignore your recommendation? In short, is there a legal requirement and obligation for local law enforcement to report such weapons to your or any other federal agency? If they do not, are they in violation of any law, statute, regulation or requirement?

I will appreciate clarification in this matter.


David Codrea

To date, I have not received a reply.


Printer Version

Resistance to sudden violence, for the preservation not only of my person, my limbs, and life, but of my property, is an indisputable right of nature which I have never surrendered to the public by the compact of society, and which perhaps, I could not surrender if I would. JOHN ADAMS

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