DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – While Washington and America debate gun laws after the Newtown school massacre, two groups in downtown Dallas made their points on different sides of the issue.
One was a gun auction, where—one by one—prospective gun buyers bid on a firearms other owners were willing to sell. “Guns staying with private collectors and citizens actually keeps guns from being leaked to the secondary markets, such as the black market, so it’s actually a good thing for us to keep the guns here,” according to auction participant Sean Johnson. The auction was hosted by a new pro-gun, pro-constitution organization called The Right Group and organized by Collin Baker. “It’s all about don’t infringe on mine (constitutional rights), I won’t infringe on yours, and everybody can live alongside each other.”
Baker staged the auction directly across the street from a gun buyback event at First Presbyterian Church’s Stewpot program. Weapons there ran from $50 for handguns and some long guns, and up to $200 for a military-style rifle. But these weapons would be destroyed, put into automobiles and then crushed at an auto salvage yard. Rev. Dr. Bruce Buchanan, associate pastor of First Presbyterian Church and director of the Stewpot, argues removing guns from homes can save lives. “Many of them come from homes where there are children and the people want to make their home safer.”
Some sellers, like Steve McDonald, just wanted to responsibly get rid of an extra gun, a 9mm that he says is hard to find ammunition for. “I wouldn’t use it, I don’t need it. I wouldn’t want to throw it away and something get in the wrong hands so I just figured this would be a good way to do it.” But gun auction participant Johnson opposes buybacks. “These weapons could be going to good citizens who abide by the law,” he said, ”instead they’re being destroyed.” Another participant, Derrick Ringley, agreed. “They’re going to destroy the guns whereas these we hopefully help them find good owners, and get them taken care of and find a good home.”
Occasionally a seller didn’t like the price at the buyback and came across the street to the auction for a better price. Another time, James Brown left because of the buyback’s long lines. “I was waiting too long in the in the line across the street,” he said then added, “It (the sale) worked out pretty darn well.”
The Stewpot’s gun buyback program collected 110 firearms. In seven previous years the buybacks totaled an estimated 500 weapons. The Right Group’s auction—and a later rally–connected some 40-45 buyers and sellers, according to Baker. Both groups called their events a success.
The Right Group is even planning another auction later on. It can be reached through its website at www.therightgroup.org
The Stewpot can be reached at www.thestewpot.org
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