Like many metropolitan police forces, the Detroit Police Department orchestrates gun-buyback programs in a feel-good but ineffective effort to curb criminal violence.
On August 30th, Detroit police, in cooperation with the Archdiocese of Detroit and the nonprofit group Crime Stoppers, staged a gun buyback at St. Cecilia's Church on the city's west side, offering to purchase guns no questions asked. Prices ranged from $10 for pellet guns to $100 for so-called "assault weapons."
Last year, the St. Cecilia buyback netted 737 guns. This year, they expected a similar tally.
However, they didn't count on competition from Michigan Open Carry, Inc. and followers of the "Legally Armed In Detroit" blog, who just happened to be conducting a "gun rescue" rally across the street from the church at very same time the buyback was under way.
"Gun rescue" participants stood off church property with cash, proper forms and large "Buying Guns - CASH" signs advertising their intent to offer a better price for operable guns than police were in the buyback.
Rick Ector, a 44-year-old firearms instructor who provides Michigan CCW Class training in Detroit, organized the "gun rescue" because gun buybacks don't reduce crime and "are a waste of public resources."
Ector told those selling firearms to police that "selling it at a gun buyback isn't really in your best interest because you can sell it on the secondary market or take it to a gun shop and get at least two or three times more than what the police department is offering."
This is what about 20 people did at the "secondary market" created by the "gun rescue" rally across the street from the gun-buyback program.
Ector wished more guns could be saved.
"More firearms could have been saved, however much of what was being offered for sale was junk," he said. "For example, one lady produced a banged up small form-factor Bryco Arms .22LR caliber semi-automatic handgun without a magazine. She was advised to quickly sell it the police before they ran out of money."