Stan Smith wants your guns. Or at least, your gun. The 75-year old retired teacher in northern Idaho says he’s a gun owner himself, but he just doesn’t see any reason for someone to own an AR-15, so he’s launching a one-man, self-funded “buyback” program, hoping that he can convince some folks to hand over their semi-automatic rifles in exchange for a charitable donation.
Smith first proposed his gun buyback program in a letter to the editor published in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News last weekend. The retired teacher said he’s become fed up with recent mass shootings in America.
“Anybody that follows the news, why wouldn’t they be frustrated?” he said.
Under Smith’s proposal, anyone willing to turnover their assault rifle to him would do so knowing that the gun will eventually be destroyed. After that, Smith will cut a $500 check to charity.
“So, I thought I’ll offer the money and hopefully somebody will turn one in. Just one. I don’t have an infinite bank,” he said.
I have a feeling you’re going to be able to keep your money, Stan. Even if a gun owner decided he wanted to rid herself of her AR-15 and give some money to charity, chances are she could sell her firearm to a local gun store and have $500 to donate and some extra cash left over.
Smith, a fourth generation Idahoan, is a gun owner himself. Still, he recognized that others have opinions that differed from his own when it comes to assault rifles.
“I don’t mind that some people love the Second Amendment more than I love the First Amendment. That’s what the First Amendment is all about. People should speak their mind without any fear of penalty,” he said.
It’s not about loving the Second Amendment more than the First Amendment any more than it’s about loving guns more than children, which is another incredibly dishonest argument gun control advocates like to make. It’s about not wanting any of our constitutional rights to be eroded, and that’s exactly what a ban on the most commonly sold rifle in the United States would do. It would minimize the right to keep and bear arms with the false promise of public safety.
If successful, Smith recognizes his buyback program would put only a small dent in what he calls a problem surrounding assault rifles. While Smith said handguns and other weapons were responsible for deaths in America as well, the former teacher emphasized that he wanted to “make a statement that we don’t have to be powerless.”
“It’s just my own personal journey to do something that I could do, that I thought was right,” he said. “And if everybody else doesn’t sign up for that, that’s great. That’s why we can love America. We have freedom.”
We do have freedom in this country, and that includes the right to launch a one-man gun “buyback” in rural Idaho. We also have the freedom to say “Gee Stan, I think I’m going to pass on your offer, but have a great day.” I don’t agree with Stan Smith’s position on semi-automatic rifles, but if he wants to offer up $500 to charity in exchange for someone’s rifle, he’s got every right to do so.
In fact, he’s given me a similar idea. If you want to hand over your AR-15 to me, I’ll make a $501 donation to the charity of your choice*. I’ll ensure that your rifle is given a good home and sees frequent use on the range. Heck, maybe I’ll start a charity of my own: Cam Edwards’ Home For Wayward Rifles, where unwanted long guns can find a sanctuary in the woods and pastures of central Virginia. Thanks for the inspiration, Stan!
*retail value of rifle must be at least $1000.