One man outsmarted a Houston, Texas, gun buyback.
An unnamed Houston man told KRIV that he exchanged “dozens” of 3D-printed guns for Visa gift cards at a Saturday gun buyback.
After the event, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said that the city wouldn’t pay for 3D-printed homemade guns in the next buyback, suggesting buyer’s remorse after the clever bootstrap gunsmith outsmarted the system.
“We’re going to exclude those next time around,” Turner said of the creations.
“This is a program designed for people who want to voluntarily relinquish their guns.”
The city of Houston advertised the Saturday buyback as a means to fight gun violence, but giving away Visa gift cards to a man who brought a large collection of 3D-printed guns apparently wasn’t what they had in mind.
The man who claims to have turned in the 3D-printed guns says he intended to make a point about the buyback itself.
“The goal was not personal profit, but to send [Houston leaders] a message about spending $1 million tax dollars on something that has no evidence of any effect on crime,” the anonymous man said.
Ghost guns, another name for 3D-printed firearms, are in fact functional firearms. They can be produced with relative ease, at a cheap cost by individuals familiar with 3D printing technology — although they aren’t as durable as conventional firearms.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg criticized the event in a letter to Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, Mayor Sylvester Turner and Police Chief Troy Finner, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Ogg warned that the “no-questions-asked” format of the event could “harm public safety, impede the prosecution of violent criminals and encourage the theft of firearms in and around Harris County.”
Gun buybacks have been previously criticized for failing to accomplish their stated purpose.
Critics say the events allow criminals to exchange guns involved in violent acts without fear of accountability.
Paying for guns later used as evidence in trial proceedings can disqualify their use in a courtroom.
Houston Police indicated that one man exchanged 62 guns for Visa gift cards in the buyback, and one picture from the event showed a large collection of 3D-printed guns obtained by the authorities. It’s not clear if the 62-gun salesman unloaded the 3D-printed collection.
Another man who subsequently sought to turn in two 3D-printed firearms was denied by the city.
The buyback did draw in Houstonians willing to exchange their conventional firearms for gift card cash.
The line of cars outside Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in Third Ward stretched two miles long during the event.
The Sacramento Police Department in California offered a gun buyback in exchange for gas cards at a moment in which fuel prices reached their highest earlier this year.
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