South Seattle Cop on Gun Buy-Back: Great for Destroying Evidence


“Ask South Seattle Cop” is a new column written by an anonymous South Precinct police officer and longtime Rainier Valley Post contributor. Send your questions for South Seattle Cop to editor@rainiervalleypost.com.

RVP: What are your thoughts on the recent gun buy-back in Seattle? Don’t studies show they’re more feel good than effective?

SSC: Yes, that is correct. They are a good way to quickly drum up positive press if your voting base leans heavily to the anti-gun side, which is why I think this was done. But that’s about all it does.

RVP: Are we buying back the wrong guns?

SSC: Yes, that’s one of the main problems. It was reported that four stolen guns were turned-in, however, I seriously doubt that the person(s) who turned them in had any idea they were stolen.

The guns we collected were mostly old guns out of people’s closets, old trunks, and attics. Some were even rusted shut. These guns were in the hands of mostly responsible owners anyway, and these owners did not have any interest in owning them for recreation, hobby, or defense, so that is why they disposed of them.

RVP: Do gun buy-back events save lives?

SSC: I don’t think so, and I’ve seen no data indicating otherwise.

RVP: Do you think last month’s event will have any impact on gun violence in the Rainier Valley?

SSC: No, I do not believe the gun buy-back Seattle conducted will have any effect on crime/violence.

Although gun buy-backs are a quick feel-good project that politicians like because they are an easy 2-minutes of good publicity on the evening news, they essentially have no other effect.

Gun buy-backs do nothing to address the real problem of criminals and deranged people out in the streets bent on doing harm who are not being treated, subjected to meaningful consequences when they decide to commit crime, or supervised closely and strictly enough when released early from prison on parole/probation.

Another problem with this particular event is that the City opted not to IBIS test (Integrated Ballistics Identification System) the firearms purchased, but instead immediately destroy them. Thus, if we recovered a piece of evidence in a gun-crime that could lead us to a dangerous killer who is otherwise now roaming free (perhaps not the person who turned it in), we will never know it since a key piece of evidence will be melted down and gone forever.

If a city wants to do a gun buy-back, it doesn’t hurt anything I suppose, but it doesn’t help either. If you run a gun buy-back under the rules the City of Seattle mandated, you run the risk of providing the enterprising criminal with an easy way to permanently destroy otherwise traceable criminal evidence, and get some extra cash to boot (perhaps towards the illegal purchase of his/her next illegally possessed firearm).

RVP: What about the impromptu gun show that sprouted up around last week’s buy back?

SSC: If you mean the antique and collectible buyers who worked the line looking for valuable weapons about to be destroyed, I think they were doing nothing harmful, and probably saving antiques and artifacts of value from people who did not want them. The person turning the gun in got a better deal from the private buyer than they would have from the City. From what I could tell it looked like most of them were small gun-store owners and a bunch who were members of the WAC (Washington Arms Collectors).

RVP: Anything else you’d like to add?

SSC: I think State Senator Mike Carrell and Sate Representative Mike Hope are both proposing legislation that appears to actually try and address the roots of the problem, from what I have read. Their ideas will not result in overnight quick-fixes and quick results they can tout on the next evenings news. I do think however their proposed solutions will make more difference in the long run than anything else I have heard proposed so far. I think they are on the right track.

The dialogue that occurs here between friends, neighbors and engaged citizens is one of the features that makes your RVP such a valuable community resource. Your RVP does not necessarily endorse the opinions expressed.

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35 Comments on "South Seattle Cop on Gun Buy-Back: Great for Destroying Evidence"

Mike Nelson
2 years 9 months ago

Tom T —

“…my impression is that they want to bring down those in the middle class to the lowest common denominator?”

Research “Malthusian Fabian Socialism” and “Communitarianism” (aka, the “Third Way” political party), if so inclined.

Tom T
2 years 9 months ago

Remember that these are folks that we elected and that social justice is a keystone of their platforms. Given what you said Mike, my impression is that they want to bring down those in the middle class to the lowest common denominator?

Mark B
2 years 9 months ago

“Why is it that these guys don’t want to deal with crime issues but rather pursue law abiding citizens? ”

Because law abiding citizens probably have more legitimate money to go after.

Mike Nelson
2 years 9 months ago

Tom Ton… you have to understand that “law abiding citizens” are the target of these efforts — it is not criminals. The American middle class uses about 25 times more resources than someone in a 3rd world country. When central bankers own those resources, having purchased them through the endless creation of bonds that may sold and transferred into cash, the people who use the resources become their enemy.

Tom T
2 years 9 months ago

And in other news, Sen. Adam Kline and Ed Murray sponsored a bill that would allow the police to inspect your home – even if you haven’t broken the law or had prior convictions… Failure to comply would get you one year in jail.
Why is it that these guys don’t want to deal with crime issues but rather pursue law abiding citizens? http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2020373291_westneat17xml.html

2 years 9 months ago

Nice article in the Atlantic about gun violence in Chicago, and things that might or might not work to decrease it.


2 years 9 months ago

SSC: Yes, I saw after I commented that the NRA gave Mike Hope a flunking grade. That is new. Personally, I think that it’s another sign of how truly irrational the NRA has become. While I do appreciate your thoughts about what’s going on in the Rainier Valley, and especially your perspective as a law enforcement officer, I am concerned that some readers will not necessarily make the distinction between your strong personal opinions and the reality of certain situations (the old “argument from authority” logical fallacy, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_authority). Of course, I do realize that it’s ALL perspective.

South Seattle Cop
2 years 9 months ago

Dave: as pointed out, Editor was asking my opinions for an opinion piece. It was not a news article or what most would commonly think of as “reporting”. And my positions on issues are by no means the RVP’s positions. They are just my opinions.

And as Editor points out, my answers are heavily biased toward my opinions. :-)

Kathy: my opinions hardly qualify as “NRA talking points”. If you notice, I expressed positive views of legislation being proposed in Washington State that the NRA is dead-set against. They would hardly point to me as their advocate.

Also, I give Editor credit for asking and printing my views on such an emotional hot-button topic. While no spokesperson for the NRA, neither am I welcome in the opposition camp either. My comments/opinions on this topic are likely to draw the ire of a wide section of the community.

Chris: I lol’d at your speculation that I am a PR flak for the department!

I mean no insult to you. You may be a new (or relatively new) reader and not seen many of my past rants and tirades. SPD brass would string me up from the flag pole at the Justice Center if they could figure out who I am. The only thing I tend to do consistently here is offend someone or other. Hardly qualifications for a PR rep…for anyone!

Tom T: I am glad you brought up the issue of mandatory sentences being proposed at a whopping 10-days. This reminds me of the 30-days home detention sentence handed down in the case of the assault that permanently brain damaged, disabled, and nearly killed Jason KcKissack. Also worth remembering are the sentences handed down to the murderers of the Tuba Man. Where are they now? Oh yes, continuing to commit violent crimes against the public. Hezekiah Greene just got arrested again in South Seattle after his latest armed robbery spree.