A recent gun buyback event in Oregon, aimed at curbing the number of weapons on the street, turned into a planned profit making opportunity for a group of firearms enthusiasts.
The Jan. 17 event was co-sponsored by Central Coast Ceasefire Oregon and the Newport Police Department, who offered gift cards to superstore Fred Meyer in return for guns, no questions asked. A sliding scale meant assault rifles fetched $175 gift cards each, and high capacity magazines were worth $25 credits at the store, which ironically sells firearms.
Second Amendment supporters took to OpenCarry.org’s forum to spread the word about the event, and to plan out their attendance to make maximum profit.
“A $25 gift card for "high capacity magazines - like the ones you can buy for $8?” questioned one forum member.
"The turn-in does not pretend to be a market value exchange.”
- Julie Wheeler, Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation
Another forum member, named "We-the-People," explained he would be attending the event to “make $200 profit off of the two junker pistols that I purchased for the purpose.”
Members also planned to intercept attendees bringing in valuable guns, offering them cash before they could go inside and accept the gift cards.
“I picked up five weapons including a Model 11 Remington SemiAuto 12-gauge from 1926, a Mossberg bolt-action 20-gauge from 1947-1950… AND a pre-1900, 12-gauge breech action with Damascus barrel......AND....... a couple of 22 pistols,” wrote the member.
Lauded by organizers as a way to “avoid an unexpected tragedy, and show support for victims of gun violence,” the event netted a total of 138 guns. Those that pass background checks will be melted.
A blogger named ‘Tom in Oregon’ took toTheTruthAboutGuns.com to discuss his experience at the turn-in event. In a post titled “Who Says Gun ‘Buy Backs’ Are a Bad Thing,” he writes about how he gathered up his “jam-o-matics” to cash in.
“I walked up to the first table and handed a Newport P.D. officer my grocery sack with the three zip-tied pieces of pot metal disguised as pistols. He didn’t take a second look at them as he piled them on a cart that probably had 75-100 guns of all flavors of rust,” wrote the blogger.
"Tom in Oregon" wrote that the event was so popular, organizers actually ran out of gift cards. However, they promised to mail them to those who traded in guns and ammo.
“So I had a nice drive to the coast, spent about $25 in diesel, and in a couple weeks should have $375 in gift cards that I will turn into either ammo, or a subcompact carry piece of a more modern and reliable nature," he wrote. "I love it when a plan comes together.”
Julie Wheeler, president of Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation, acknowledged that a profit can be made through these events, but insists that is not always the case.
“The opposite is also possible," Wheeler told FoxNews.com in an e-mail. "Some firearms come in that are much more valuable than the awarded gift cards. The turn-in does not pretend to be a market value exchange.”
A 2004 study by the National Research Council cast doubt on whether the programs actually make Americans safer, finding the “guns that are typically surrendered in gun buy-backs are those that are least likely to be used in criminal activities,” explains the study
“In contrast, those who are either using guns to carry out crimes or as protection in the course of engaging in other illegal activities, such as drug selling, have actively acquired their guns and are unlikely to want to participate in such programs," the study said.
Aalia Shaheed is part of the Junior Reporter program at Fox News. Get more information on the program here and follow them on Twitter: @FNCJrReporters