If you’re like me, you tend to get a bit of a chuckle every time you see a bunch of gun guys buying firearms outside of a buy-back event. They usually offer more money than the buy-back does, and the new buyers tend to make out like bandits. Some of these guys get some quality firearms for ridiculously low prices.
Well, when one Miami gun guy tried it, after getting conflicting info from the Miami Police Department, he found himself in handcuffs.
John Gillis didn’t like the price Miami Police offered him when he attended a gun buyback event this past March. So he put a sign on his Jeep that read, “I Buy Guns.” The cops weren’t too fond of that, so after what Gillis describes as some back-and-forth, he was arrested for contracting without a license. The charges were later dropped due to a lack of evidence, according to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.
Gillis, an NRA instructor and avid gun collector, had contacted the police department in advance to ask how much they would pay for 27 AR-15 lower receivers, which is the part of a firearm that provides housing for internal components such as the hammer. He says he was told the department would pay $250 for AR-15s, a type of weapon that has often been used in mass shootings. [Name Redacted] used an AR-15 when he murdered 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. An AR-15-style rifle was used to kill 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary, and the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooter used one when he ended the lives of 12 people and injured 58 others.
Because Parkland was pertinent to this story for some reason.
I mean, Gillis had nothing to do with it, but no, let’s bring it up anyway, so we make him look like some kind of a kook.
Anyway, let us continue.
But when Gillis showed up to sell his AR-15 parts, he says, police offered him only $17 for each.
“They refused to take 27 AR-15s off the street as far as I’m concerned,” Gillis told New Times. “The Miami Police Department doesn’t classify this as a firearm. I asked for that in writing, but they wouldn’t give it to me. They had initially promised $250 for the lower receivers, but now they only wanted to pay $17.” Gillis said each receiver was likely worth about $50.
Gillis wasn’t happy with the cops’ price, so he stuck the “I Buy Guns” sign on his Jeep, offering to pay more than the police for firearms he could add to his collection (he ultimately had no takers). The way he tells it, several cops began to question Gillis, who is white, and his friend, who is black, and frisked the friend but not Gillis when they eventually arrested the pair. He also accuses the police of using a racist slur against his friend.
For the record, the charges were later dropped.
However, I don’t blame Gillis for trying. After all, if Miami PD wanted to pay me $250 for a lower receiver, I’d let them. I’d then use that money to get about five more lower receivers or other parts to build complete rifles. I don’t blame the guy for trying.
But the Miami PD told him $17, which was lower than they’d told him over the phone. While I don’t blame the police running the buy-back, I also don’t blame Gillis for offering to purchase firearms for more than the buy-back would.
The fact of the matter is that Gillis did nothing wrong, much less illegal. The officers just didn’t like the idea of these guns going anywhere except in their lockers for destruction. Well, I have news for them. There are a whole lot of guns that will never go anywhere near a buy-back.
I just can’t help but wonder, though. How many murder weapons were dumped at this particular buy-back?
Hat tip: The Truth About Guns