The Champaign County (IL) Rifle Association (CCRA) is known for its GunsSaveLife.com website, multiple pro-firearms billboards along Interstate 57, its monthly gun-rights journal and its support of youth shooting programs in the region.
On June 23, CCRA/Guns Save Life members Chris Betley, John Sutter and Steve Fuller reportedly drove to the nation's most firearms-restrictive metropolis—Chicago, IL—to participate in its annual, city-sponsored "buyback" event called, "Don't Kill A Dream—Save A Life."
The city offered a $100 gift card for each firearm turned-in "no questions asked," as well as $10 cash for BB-guns and replicas.
The trio from Champaign transported about 60 guns to the Windy City, including pistols, rifles, shotguns and a few BB guns. Each firearm shared an important distinction: It was a piece of junk.
"Keep in mind that for this event, we use the term 'firearms' loosely, as these guns were, by and large, non-functioning scrap," said the group's president, John Boch. "Even the guns that didn't look like they'd spent the last 20 years at the bottom of Lake Erie were missing trigger groups or other significant parts."
After attending buyback events at three different city venues, the Champaign County men had acquired $6,240 in gift cards and cash.
In delicious irony, the proceeds from Chicago's anti-gun program will be used to directly fund the state's longest-running youth shooting event, the NRA Youth Shooting Camp in Bloomington.
"This was rusty, non-firing junk that we turned in," Boch told the Chicago Sun-Times this week. "We are redirecting funds from people who would work against the private ownership of firearms to help introduce the next generation to shooting safely and responsibly."