This weekend, there will be hundreds of guns on a single street in Lents. The Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation, an anti-gun violence group, is hosting its 14th annual Gun Turn-In Day in Lents, where you can hand over your working handgun or other lethal device and receive a $75 gift certificate to Fred Meyer. Last year, the group collected 245 guns.
But this afternoon came a different offer, via the neighborhood listeserve: "We got a better deal. If you have a firearm that looks in good condition, give us a call. We will come by your house to make things more convenient. We will gladly pay you $100 for a large caliber short barreled hand gun. We are also looking for M-1 rifles. Give us a call and we would be happy to talk it over. A couple of bucks more is always a good deal," writes Wes Wolfe, who is coincidentally the Lents Neighborhood Association vice president.
I called up Wes to ask if he felt like he was undermining the point of the gun turn in, which is to improve safety by getting guns off the streets altogether. Wolfe disagreed, saying people who feel unsafe having a gun in their house should sell it to him, since he's trained in how to use it properly. "Why destroy a valuable weapon?" he asks, "What a waste." Wolfe pointed out that destroying unwanted guns isn't a very environmentally or economically efficient idea, when people who want guns (like him) have to out and buy new ones for $300 or so. He's specifically looking for a .22 caliber rifle, too, that he plans to let local boy scouts use to earn a rifle shooting merit badge.
"Don't you have to do a background check to sell someone a gun?" I asked.
Nope, he said, not in Oregon. Someone can just bring a gun to his house and - bam! - $100 easy money. He told me I could compare gun prices on Craigslist.
"You can buy guns on Craigslist?!" I shouted. Indeed you can: old guns, hunting guns, guns promising
"This thing is a beast, you will be feared on the battlefield!".
Boy scouts with a gun! Cheap gun for sale on Craigslist! Two perfectly terrifying Halloween costumes! Everyone with a gun who wants $100 tonight should email Wes immediately.