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Guns, Gift Cards, and a Missile Launcher

Seattle Police traded gift cards for guns on Saturday, closing the event early due to the high turnout.

Editor's note: this article has been updated with clarifying information from the Seattle Police Department.

MERCER ISLAND, WA -- The first Seattle gun buyback in 20 years netted more than 160 guns in just the first two hours, including one unexpected item, originally said by Mayor Mike McGinn to be a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Police later clarified that it was a used launch tube for a Stinger surface-to-air missile.

Hundreds lined up for the event, which began at 9 a.m. Saturday, to trade their  handguns, shotguns and rifles for $100 Amazon gift cards and state-classified assault weapons for $200. Amazon donated $30,000 in gift cards to the program, McGinn said.

By noon, Seattle Police said that over 160 different guns had been turned in and more than $35,000 in gift cards handed out.

The department said the official tally of guns turned in will be announced by the Mayor's office on Monday, and the city will work with donors to plan another event soon.

Seattle Police later clarified the missile tube turn-in:

We’ve received a number of questions about one particular item collected at today’s buyback, so we will try and provide some clarification:

A man standing outside the gun buyback event this afternoon was showing his recently purchased launch tube assembly for a Stinger portable surface-to-air missile.  Naturally, this created a bit of excitement, and several people at the event informed officers there was a man walking around with a missile launcher.  Officers spoke to the man, who was very cooperative, and told officers that he had just purchased it for $100 from another person at today’s event.  Officers then asked the man if they could take a closer look at the launcher.

The launch tube assembly for the Stinger is what holds the actual missile and is designed to be disposable after it is fired, as this one clearly was.  Officers checked the tube and confirmed that there was no missile inside.  However, even an expended launch tube is still a controlled military item.  This item is not available to civilians through any surplus or disposal program offered by the government.  Items such as this are required to be accounted for until they are ultimately destroyed.  Detectives from the Arson/Bomb Squad will notify the Army Criminal Investigation Division on Monday and see if they can determine through the serial number the status of this particular launch tube.

The man was provided with a case number and a short report was written regarding the circumstances surrounding this item. Officers took possession of the launch tube.   The man did indicate he would like to keep the launch tube if he is legally able to do so.  The man agreed to accept a gift card as compensation if the launch tube is not returned to him.  It is most likely, however, that the launch tube was previously obtained unlawfully from the military in which case, SPD will likely return the item to Joint Base Lewis McChord—as we do with other recovered military explosives and ordinance [sic]—where it will be properly accounted for and destroyed.

Did you take your gun to the buyback? Tell us in the comments.


Jason F. January 28, 2013 at 07:42 AM
The mayor is an idiot Jeanne....we all know that. This is a huge publicity stunt, and as a member of the media I am sure you can appreciate the value a simple mistake such as "Hey we had an RPG turned in" can have over "Yeah we had a plastic tubing piece of garbage training tool used by the Army and found in dumpsters all over JBLM turned in"... Kind of makes a difference....
Jason F. January 28, 2013 at 07:46 AM
I thanked them by not purchasing anything from them this month. I decided to spend the time more wisely...cleaning and lubricating my guns.
Jason F. January 28, 2013 at 07:49 AM
Haha I know Steve! Isn't the receipt of stolen property a crime!? :) I think we need to start conducting citizen arrests!
Jason F. January 28, 2013 at 07:51 AM
Haha I know Kevin, I saw it on the news and just laughed...I bet Army CID will just laugh at SPD and say "Stop wasting our time losers"
Jason F. January 28, 2013 at 07:52 AM
I also have a large amount of hammers...I wonder if I am on a watch list because I have so many hammers....ya think?
Jason F. January 28, 2013 at 07:52 AM
Yes it would be receiving stolen property...if they don't return them they should be arrested.
Rosina January 28, 2013 at 08:34 AM
Good question considering the cameras on the street to catch ddrivers breaking the law.
Gary Destro January 28, 2013 at 11:11 AM
I just think it's soooo wonderful that criminals will have a safe method of disposing of murder weapons as well as stolen guns that aren't good as crime pieces. Way to go guys!
Gary Destro January 28, 2013 at 11:20 AM
No, no, no. What you do is pay them a little more to turn them in to you instead then open a little gunshop after getting an FFL. This way the people that don't want them are rid of them, you bought your inventory cheaply and when you sell the guns you do it legally so it's a win win situation for everyone : )
Gary Destro January 28, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Better than that. They are accessories to murder and other crimes where a criminal needs to be rid of a damning piece of evidence like a murder weapon or a stolen weapon used in crime
Gary Destro January 28, 2013 at 11:30 AM
some criminals did - the ones who need to ge trid of a murder weapon.
Lazarus Long January 28, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Amazon just lost me as a customer,and I have been one of their most faithful customers. I am a Prime customer and even remodeled my bathroom with purchases made from Amazon and have recommended them to everybody in sight. Hell,I even buy my cereal and paper towels from them. All that is over now that I know they have jumped on the anti-Second Amendment train. When I get my account paid off I'm done with them and am going to encourage everyone else I know to drop them,too. I don't support businesses that don't support the US Constitution and want to see any of my rights taken away. Does anybody REALLY think buying guns from people who are willing to stand in line to sell them to the police for a fraction of what they are worth does anything to reduce crime? If you do,you are a fool.
Lazarus Long January 28, 2013 at 12:18 PM
It's nothing but a "feel good" event for the airheads that think "Gee,I'll turn in Dad's old WW-2 Army rifle,make me $100,and get to feel soooo "special" to boot! For the cops it's a GREAT chance to steal unregistered weapons to keep as "drop pieces" that can't be traced to them if they are involved in a bad shooting and need to cover themselves,or just a way to make some extra money by selling them. To the criminal class we call "politicians" it's a great way to get some free publicity if there are no babies around to kiss,and to the idiot leftists out there it's a way to condition the minds of the mindless to the idea that turning in and destroying guns is a good think that is their civic duty. The long run result of this is to train people to accept gun confiscations in the future.
Lazarus Long January 28, 2013 at 12:21 PM
I did. I closed my Prime account and told them I would never buy anything from them again.
Mike Schnare January 28, 2013 at 12:24 PM
Harry Piels...There is also ample evidence on Wikipedia that those same countries you speak of have a higher overall murder and crime rate than we do which only means if you want to kill you don't need a gun. Also there is ample evidence on the same site that many if not most countries in the middle east have a lower murder rate than the US and we know how strong their gun control is in countries like Libya, Egypt, Iraq and Palestine! Like someone else mentioned, check the stats for Switzerland where every citizen is required to serve in the military and keep their service weapon....a fully automatic rifle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate
Lazarus Long January 28, 2013 at 12:28 PM
Remember the movie "Crockodile Dundee"? The real man that movie was based on was in fact a Crockodile hunter who lived miles from the closest city,and he was gunned down at a roadblock set up by the Australian police because he refused to turn his guns in,and had been vocal about never turning them in. He wasn't hurting anyone with them,he had never hurt anyone with them,and he needed them to live his normal life,but the police just couldn't allow a public figure known by everyone to get away with flaunting ignoring the law,so they went after him and ended up murdering him. Yeah,he managed to kill one of them before he died.but it's a damn shame he didn't kill them all. Unlike THEM,HE wasn't bothering anyone.
Lazarus Long January 28, 2013 at 12:34 PM
Not much of a deep thinker,are you? What you have managed to do was the opposite of your intention. You just highlighted the FACT that it's not the guns that are evil,but the damn fool laws that ended up turning law-abiding innocent citizens into criminals because someone either braindead or with a anti-American agenda passed a damnfool law that made an inanimate object into a illegal object and made it's innocent owner into a instant criminal.
Lazarus Long January 28, 2013 at 12:40 PM
Yes,but the reality is NOTHING is a crime until a local DA declares it to be a crime and runs it past a grand jury. Good luck at getting ANY local DA to start arresting the police chief that provides special police protection to the mayor and his or her mega-buck friends. It's not supposed to be this way,but police departments are above the law. They just enforce them,they don't live by them.
Kortney Dunkle January 28, 2013 at 02:52 PM
Oh my god do liberals pander to criminals. No questions asked of the minorities turning these in, god forbid. Now us "right wing, extremists", (white consevatives) we will be "pathologized", then sent to the Gulag. (Ahem...correction, they will try to send us to the gulag.) These guns were all most likely stolen. An AR-15 for $ 200 bucks ? In exchange for a gift card ? I can give you a better deal.
grantdgreat January 28, 2013 at 03:06 PM
MAX STONE, YOU IDIOT. THE IDEA WAS THERE AND IT IS CORRECT. YOU ON THE OTHER HAND CANNOT PUT TWO WORDS TOGETHER, EXCEPT TO SAY SOMEONE mispelllled a wrd or 2. that is why I am afraid that idiots like you will try to control my rights under the constitution. How about this one brainiac, it says the president has to prove he is an american born person, when the hell are you going to say where is the proof this guy is from anywhere or did he go to school as a foreign student. but you mak a reply tht someone missspllled a word.
trusgold January 28, 2013 at 03:12 PM
Try and stop a minute and think all you NRA rednecks. If these people place so little value of thier gun they probably did not know how to use it safely and effectively and would be killed by thier own gun if they ever pulled it out. it's not like Ted Nugent turned his in for the Amazon gift card. It's people that had guns that shouldn't have had them. Maybe we can go back to safe days of the old west when everyone was packing legally. That would just be great. Did you ever wonder why England had 9 murders from guns last year? Because there are not a bunch of legal guns to steal and shot people.
trusgold January 28, 2013 at 03:15 PM
Lazrus...that sounds like a good thing. Paper towels and cereal.....and you have a gun too. OH GREAT> Little OCD going on maybe?
Carol Friends January 28, 2013 at 03:19 PM
I think the basic question is, do we want to turn our nation into an armed camp where we solve our differences or work out our hostilities by killing each other? Maybe we are already there. I don't want to walk around my community being afraid that some neighbor will stick his gun in my back. For those of us who think that being civilized means using the power of the law and community services to resolve issues, the previous conversations are very disturbing.
dexterjibs January 28, 2013 at 03:27 PM
GEEZ FRANK HUTCHINGS, did you forget to take your Lithium meds this week?
TomG January 28, 2013 at 03:29 PM
AND!!!!! Now the bad guys will be stealing more weapons so that they can make easy money!!!! Gun owners ...LOCK EM' UP!!!!
Nathaniel Forrest January 28, 2013 at 03:30 PM
Just LOVE the IDIOTS WHO COMPARE VEHICLE REGISTRATION to GUN REGISTRATION. There is a BIG DIFFERENCE YOU MORONS!! Titling, licensing and driving a vehicle on public roads is a PRIVILEGE. Owning and possessing a gun is a CONSTITUTIONALLY ENUMERATED RIGHT. BIG DIFFERENCE, except to those who lack the intelligence to understand the difference or the integrity to admit the difference. AS for the 2nd Amendment referring to the National Guard??? How many guard units have their SOLDIERS bring in their own weapons? The National Guard is NOT A MILITIA, it is GOVERNMENT MILITARY, period. Using that logic, we must assume that the founding fathers thought it was necessary to put in the US COnstitution the right of the army to have guns???
Nathaniel Forrest January 28, 2013 at 03:32 PM
OOOOOH!!! A MISSILE LAUNCHER ??? and all it was missing for it to be able to take down a passenger jet was JUST A MISSILE? WOWEEE That was close! IF it had just had one of those simple little Surface to Air MISSILES... what a CLOSE CALL THAT WAS!!! That disposable tube was as dangerous as a length of 3 inch drainage pipe!! That could have done some SEVERE DAMAGE if somebody had been hit in the head with it !!
Nathaniel Forrest January 28, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Racist much? after you prove you are an ignorant white-hater nothing after that is relevant
Nathaniel Forrest January 28, 2013 at 03:36 PM
That doesn't make for good headlines for the media or a propaganda tool for the pigs to prove the SUCKcess of their meaningless gun buyback. Won't even see a blip in the crime stats
Nathaniel Forrest January 28, 2013 at 03:37 PM
trusgold = captain of the short bus debating team

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