Back in January, Dallas’s First Presbyterian Church found itself courting controversy for holding a gun buyback event—usually among the least controversial gun-control measures there are, given that it’s consistent with free-market principles and the only people who are relieved of their weapons in these events are people who would rather have $50-$200 than hang on to their guns.
Still, a group of gun enthusiasts opted to take that free-market approach even further, and hold a competing event, in which people would be paid “fair market value” for their weapons. According to the Dallas Observer at the time, the church received (and subsequently destroyed) 112 guns, while the protest auction across the street auctioned off only “about twenty” guns, despite offering prices over twice what the church was paying.
All of this is news again because First Presbyterian is getting back into the gun-buyback game: The church announced this week that December 14 will be the next buyback event, just in time for people who may need the money for Christmas shopping.
“Many people have turned in their guns for cash saying they originally bought or were given a gun for self-defense and security, but felt the exact opposite resulted,” says First Presbyterian’s Rev. Bruce Buchanan in a statement. “They felt worried and concerned over the possible misuse of the weapon, especially by children and grandchildren. Research has calculated that a gun kept in the home is 43 times more likely to kill a member of the household or friend than an intruder.”
There’s no word yet from any organizations that might be interested in a counter-event, though the fact that so many people in January opted to take less money for their weapons to see them destroyed, rather than in someone else’s hands, suggests that maybe the reasons these events succeed has less to do with the free market than it seems on the surface. “The Rights Group,” the organization that formed in 2012 and which hosted the counter-event in January, doesn’t appear to be active. Other gun-rights organizations, like Open Carry Texas, have yet to comment. (They have, however, launched an IndieGoGo campaign to raise money for future parades and demonstrations, which has currently raised $75.)