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Protest at gun buyback in San Bernardino County by Martin Hill
Law enforcement agencies throughout San Bernardino County took part in the first county-wide gun-buyback program on Saturday June 1st. The events were held in six Stater Brothers Grocery Store parking lots, with thousands of Californians turning in their guns for grocery store gift cards. Jodi Miller of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said that the public was "very appreciative of the opportunity" to turn in their guns at the gun-buyback event in Victorville. The event had such a large turnout that although it had originally been scheduled to begin at 10am, Miller explained "at 8:30 we were sending the first cars through" the line. She stressed that the gun surrender was completely voluntary and that these are weapons the participants no longer wanted to posess. Several people were concerned that if their house was burglarized the guns mught be stolen and used in a crime. It should be noted as you will see in the video that two armed deputies asked if I had 'credentials' prior to letting me speak to the public information officer, but I informed them that "I don't need a 'press card' - 1st Amendment."
Many people stated that they didn't want the guns to "get in the wrong hands." There were a lot of older white men and military veterans in line turning in their guns, all of whom said that they supported the 2nd Amendment and the right to self defense.
One Army vet stated that he likened the buyback to the hazardous waste returns and was happy to have the opportunity to get rid of one of his guns in particular, which he had gotten from a guy who was sort of "shady". A woman who turned in her guns told me that she was now concerned that she was unarmed, but that she had dogs. She reasoned that if the burglar killed her dogs and then took her guns, there would be more guns in the hands of criminals.
At the Victorville buyback, there was one unmarked truck without any plates with police inside, patrolling and monitoring the parking lot from all sides. Several motorists driving past the event gave the thumbs up and honked for our signs, one of which read 'DON'T TURN IN YOUR GUNS!' A black U.S. Marine veteran (pictured below) who saw the police and the protest signs stopped by to see what was going on. He said that the people were crazy for turning over their guns, and agreed with local politicians such as the San Bernardino City Attorney and the Big Bear Lake Mayor who had said it's wise to be armed and to protect your family. The man added that after police burned fugitive Chris Dorner alive, he had bought galons of fire retardant spray to apply to his house. "Those MFers aren't burning ME alive!" he said, adding "why do they always seem to use 'incendiary tear gas' instead of regular tear gas in those type situations?"
A TV cameraman for KNBC 4 /Telemundo 52 interviewed me about my opposition at the gun-buyback, but the segment did not air on KNBC's 11 O'clock news, as the story seemed to be pre-empted with coverage of a hurricane and a police pursuit in Los Angeles that ended in deadly carnage.
The spokesman for the Upland Police department said their buyback was pretty busy and had also started about an hour earlier than scheduled, due to high demand. He said that three or four assault weapons had been turned in as of 1:30PM.
There are three videos below. The first is an interview with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Public Information officer, the second is interviews with folks who traded their guns for gift cards, and the third is a visit to the Upland buyback. Upland you may remember is the Southern California city which was sued and settled a civil rights lawsuit last year for infringing on the rights of two open-carry gun activists.
Martin Hill is a
Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. He advocates limited
Constitutional government, presumption of innocence, and individual liberty. His
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