Minneapolis Police Pay $100 for Piece of Wood, Pipe During Gun Buyback

One of guns turned in Aug. 27, 2016, at Minneapolis gun “buyback” event / Screenshot from Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus Facebook page
August 30, 2016

Minneapolis police purchased a homemade shotgun consisting of a piece of wood and lead pipe during a gun buyback program on Saturday.

The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, a state-based gun rights groups, announced on its Facebook page that a man had been paid $100 in gift certificates for a makeshift shotgun at the event. A picture of the shotgun posted on the group’s page illustrates the primitive nature of the firearm. The serial number, written in marker on the piece of wood, reads "BuyBacksDontWork01" and demonstrates the gun was created as a statement against such programs.

The buyback ended early on Saturday after the department accumulated 150 firearms and ran through its $25,000 budget. However, critics said the firearms collected by the program were not coming from criminals. A number of people interviewed by local news outlets said they were trying to get rid of old, unused firearms.

"Had a couple firearms in my safe that hadn’t been used for a lot of years and I figured, good as place as any," John Murphy, of New Hope, told WCCO. "It was an easy process."

One woman, a 63-year-old grandmother, wanted to get rid of her firearm for personal reasons, the Star Tribune reported.

The woman arrived at 12:30 p.m. and was dismayed by the possibility that she’d have to hold onto the gun. She bought it more than 20 years ago as a single mother living in a crime-ridden neighborhood.

"I’m not fond of guns," said the woman, who asked not to be identified for safety reasons. "I’ve been wanting to get rid of it for years."

Police defended the buyback as effective.

"If we can get guns that people no longer want to have around their house off the streets to where they cannot be stolen from houses and used in crimes that’s a good thing," Minneapolis Police Officer Corey Schmidt told WCCO.