One More Perspective on the Buy-Back: Bryan Wendt

Bryan D. Wendt, a Dallas-area attorney I met Saturday, sends me his account of the buy-back.


The Brotherhood of the Loitering Gun-Scalpers

It was a cold, windy morning, sunny and bracing, when I arrived at Dallas’ nearly-abandoned Reunion Arena. Once home to the Reunion Rowdies and the Stanley Cup champion Dallas Stars, it is but a shell of its former masculine glory, on this day hosting that most effeminate of liberal delusions, the “gun buyback”. Yes, City Councilman Dwaine Caraway, with several hip hop radio stations and Kroger Food Stores combined this day to “get guns off the streets”. Come one and all, every gun surrendered netted the owner two T shirts and a $50 grocery card at Kroger. Such a deal!

Upon hearing of the event, the capitalist in me saw it as a possible buying opportunity. Some of these do’s bring in hundreds of guns. Someone with a decent .45 auto or a semi auto 12 gauge would get more from me than the pittance offered above. And perhaps some sentimental soul would think of his gun like an unwanted dog; better to give him a good home than have him euthanized, right? I was also curious. Just what kind of folks and what kind of guns would materialize? Were the “customers” just dumb, just political or just throwing out trash? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? [Read more...]

Scenes from the Dallas Gun Buy-Back

Here’s the video. Big thank you to Amanda Warr at BestofTexas who did all the heavy lifting on this.

Owing to the limits of video — and my own ham-fisted interview style on video — here’s some extended remarks we both agreed on for before you watch the video that gives a little more context.


The question that started this all was what makes Dallas safer when it comes to guns. Is it people disarming themselves? Is it people arming themselves?

We both had our preconceived notions about the answer when we started. And our preconceived notions about the people who would show up – whatever their motivations.

Instead we met the councilman behind the buyback who told us “You have to own guns.” We met people like Don Pogue and Curtis Jackson, who were just getting rid of old junk they had while keeping their good firearms at home. We met gun lovers like Bryan Wendt, looking to make buyback attendees a better offer, but who on seeing the condition of most of what was turned in, said, “Most of this stuff should be destroyed. You can’t have people relying on these old pieces.” (He encouraged them to buy better arms.) And we had a gun poseur who couldn’t tell a piece of history from a piece of shit.

Here’s the video and our extended concluding remarks, which weren’t clear as we’d like in the first version of this. (We’ll have a higher res version up later.)

The fact is, one more gun turned in isn’t going to make the city of Dallas better. Sure, it could be stolen and used in a crime. Just as likely it could be used in defense. And one more gun kept isn’t going to make Dallas any better, either. It may be used to protect someone. It may also be used by a kid because some dolt didn’t know how to properly store it.

Then we met Sonya Whitaker. She told us how she was turning in an old rusty revolver her granddad gave her that was useless. Her South Oak Cliff house had been burglarized twice, and she didn’t want some criminal getting it.

She also told us the police weren’t doing enough in South Oak Cliff to combat crime, and maybe turning in this old useless lump of iron might show good faith.

Sonya mused that if perhaps she showed that good faith, then perhaps her city would show faith in her community and patrol a little more often.

She complained about how the city told her neighbors they should hire off-duty cops for security – which sounds an awful lot like a mob scam more than a city service.

Sonya is a second generation Oak Cliffer. She went to college and works at a Dallas hospital. She made sure her son is going to college. She has no intention of moving out of Oak Cliff no matter how well she does. She’s taking a stand. She’s putting pressure on the police to do something. She’s involved in her community. Would she be safer if she owned a better gun and knew how to use it? Maybe. But since she couldn’t and probably wouldn’t bring it to where she works and she’s been burglarized twice — maybe not.

Sonya’s staying and fighting to make her little piece better. She’s staying where middle class people are needed most, trying to turn her neighborhood around. And she’s starting at home, with her son.

You know who is going to make Dallas better and safer? Not politicians, not police, not gun owners, and not anti-gun wieners.

It’s people like Sonya.

(Personal note: An unfired, still-in-the-box Colt 1911 .45 pistol was turned in before I could bid on it. It is slated to be euthanized. I’m holding a memorial at 4 p.m. today. Send flowers.)

Monday Roundup: Making A Prohibition Buck, Taxing Times & More

Before I start — video of the Saturday buyback will be up sometime today. Sorry for the delay.

Now let’s get to it.

  • Tim Rogers already dealt handily with the ridiculous column James Ragland wrote Saturday arguing that Six Flags shouldn’t serve beer. Great stuff. Interesting side note: Ragland relied in his column on Carl Fors, founder and president of Texas Sober, an organization of neo-prohibitionists out of Fort Worth. Texas Sober makes a pretty penny off their obsession over other people enjoying the occasional beer. They also own a company that sells police dummies at $235 a pop and other junk. Ragland calls Six Flags to task for wanting to sell beer, because in his words, “this is all about making an extra buck or two.” For Texas Sober, it’s about making a buck or $235, it seems.
  • My buddy Michael Davis has a slide show of the gun buy-back up on his blog. Check it out. And yes, Michael and I are friends. Even when we don’t see eye-to-eye, I respect the hell out of him. Here’s one of the shots from his slide show. Handsome dudes, I think. (PS – Update your RSS subscription to Dallas Progress here.)
  • And finally, here’s Dallas City Council candidate John Jay Myers with his part in the fight against the $550 million taxpayer owned convention center hotel.

After Action Report

Coming soon.

Friday Roundup: Captain Obvious Edition

  • Twenty-one Dallas police officers got disciplined for violating the city’s no-chase police back in September. The policy says police can only pursue suspects who are dangerous felons. The idea is to reduce the risk of accidental injury and death for both police and innocent bystanders. Who wants to get run over or in a crash because an officer is chasing someone who shoplifted sunglasses, right? One of the officers in the September chase crashed out and was seriously injured. Here comes the irony: “There’s also criticism that two officers suspended provided life saving assistance to one of their own.” An officer who, ironically, wouldn’t have been injured if he has just obeyed the no-chase policy.
  • We live in a state where two of every three households has a gun. We live in a world where knowledge = power. We live in a reality where ignorance is dangerous. And yet this woman in Garland lives in a world where a safety program designed to protect children has no place. Too. Much. Stupid.

  • Who could foresee any public hand-wringing over the fact a Spanish company (Spain is in Europe, where Spaniards come from, not South America, where Mexicans come from) won the bid to do the work on LBJ Freeway? Who? Captain Ob… you get the idea. (I suppose those angry about this would rather pay more in taxes so an American company would do the construction? And wouldn’t that be a form of affirmative action?)

Thursday Roundup: Harshing Drug Warriors’ Mellow, It’s Dead Jim, Twitter Twaddle & More

  • A rare moment of near sanity in the War on Certain Drugs: a Fort Worth guy whose brother hid drugs in his house was sentenced to just probation. Now, this is a guy who wasn’t a dealer, has no criminal record, and passed drug tests for two years. Sure, he knew they were there, but who narcs out family? Naturally, narcotics officers are livid. They should probably smoke a fattie and chill out.
  • Angela Hunt declares the Trinity Tollway dead. Given the levees a-gone break and the city’s a-gone broke, hard to disagree with her diagnosis.
  • Magic Eight Ball sez: Unlikely. (You just know the real winner is going to get hunted after a secret online auction in Hostel II.)
  • Here’s at least one thing Rep. Joe Barton of Texas shouldn’t apologize for: tweeting “Aggie basketball game is about to start on espn2 for those of you that aren’t going to bother watching pelosi smirk for the next hour.” We need more of this, not less.
  • Want two reasons the Democrats are going to lose control of the House in 2010? There‘s the first. And there’s the second. (Smells so much like 1993, don’t it? Thank you, Mr. Obama — you are generous. Oh, and Mr. Holder — Molon Labe. We were ready for it, this time.

Where I’ll Be Saturday Between 9 a.m. and Noon — Buying Cheap Guns

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway’s plan is to give $50 Kroger gift certificates to anyone who turns in an unloaded, functioning firearm. The program commences at 9 a.m. on Saturday at Reunion Arena.

My plan is to be there with envelopes containing $65 in cash each, to give to anyone in exchange for really well-maintained, functioning firearms that are on my wish list.

I figure $65>$50, and cash is better than a gift card.

And I will give these poor, unwanted guns a loving home.

So let’s do some business.

UPDATE: I am serious. I’m checking into the legal side of this to make sure my bases are covered, but I don’t see any problem. Sales between individuals aren’t regulated, I’m not required to do background checks on people I’d buy from, and Reunion Arena is public property.

UPDATE #2: I’m looking for a volunteer to videotape this little outing I have planned Saturday morning. Email me at

UPDATE #3: Oh my. My my my.

Plano ISD — Not Too Shabby; They Like Guns

I admit I was wary of enrolling my 5-year-old in Plano public schools. Not that the performance isn’t stellar, it’s just I’ve got a problem with the 19th Century model of education Horace Mann imported from Prussia, with its attendant groupthink zeitgeist and conformity factory ways. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well the school is run overall, and yesterday I found something in her homework package that warmed my heart.

We’ve all heard stories about kids getting suspended or expelled for so much as drawing a picture of a gun or having a cake knife in their car. So it was pleasuresome to see her homework page, which was to paste pictures of words beginning with the letter G on a page. Here’s the page.

Look at the item on the bottom left. It’s a gun. It’s not being treated like something forbidden. In fact, they’ve already had lessons about gun safety, none of which declared guns to be “teh evil” they’re portrayed as in some ISDs.

Friday Roundup: DART Still Losing Money, Unsafer Dallas & More

  • Dallas SWAT are cooling their heels at President Bush’s new house. Which means poker games, neighbors of people with warrants, small-time pot smokers, and barking dogs won’t be getting shot up.
  • There’s money to be made in banning cell phones while driving. So you know the Texas Lege is all over it like a hostage on a ham sandwich.

CBS 11 Does the Obligatory “Gun Sales Are Up” Story

About four months late to the game, CBS 11 did the “Obama election drives up local gun sales” story last night. It’s been done pretty much in every market, big and small, since before last November.

Not that I’m complaining. Anything that puts more guns “on the street” and in the hands of ordinary folks is a good thing. Welcome to the party, neo-hoplophiles. Two words to memorize: Molon Labe.

My problem? All these n00bs are driving up prices.

Not that concern about Mr. Obama’s anti-gun leanings aren’t quite legitimate — take a look at this new anti-Second Amendment bill winding its merry way through the same Congress that passes a more than $1 trillion spending bill (including interest) without even reading it.