SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Police Department got hoodwinked when buying back an inoperable bazooka.
In the deal, an apparent bazooka-style rocket launcher was turned in at SFPD’s sponsored gun buyback event on Saturday. But the kicker is that is was a non-reusable single-use weapon.
The shoulder-fired anti-tank weapon was among 280 firearms that were exchanged for cash. The firearms will eventually be disassembled, ground up and melted down.
The buyback had a strict “no-questions-asked” policy as part of the encouragement to give up guns and was organized by the San Francisco Police Department and the violence prevention group called “United Playaz,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
SFPD Sergeant Displaying Inoperable Bazooka
— John Zuchelli (@tvzuke) December 16, 2017
“We got a bazooka off the streets. We got a cannon ball off the streets. We got assault rifles. We got everything that you can name that could destroy a whole universe and we get rid of them within hours,” Rudy Corpuz Jr., executive director of United Playaz told KGO.
Unfortunately for the police, however, the bazooka has been identified as an AT-4, a single-use rocket launcher that cannot be reloaded again after firing. Many have mocked SFPD on social media for celebrating a buyback of the non-reusable weapon.
“Embarrassing tweet for trained police firearm experts. Unless your goal was to scare folks. It’s just an empty tube. Can’t be re-used,” wrote one user on Twitter. “That’s an AT-4 Tube. It is useless after it’s fired. You didn’t achieve anything except waste taxpayer money,” another Twitter user seconded.
“AT4 one time fire weapon then soldiers should break tube. It cannot be reloaded. It can be turned in as HAZMAT but not as a weapon. I hope they did not pay the person for it. If they did the Army should turn in all expensed tubes for cash to them,” wrote user named Scott Germain.
People were reportedly given at least $100 for a handgun and $200 for assault weapons. It remains unclear how much the individual who turned in the inoperable bazooka received from the buyback.
The “no-questions-asked” policy has received the ire of some officers who recognize it as nothing more than an illegal pawnshop exchange. In other words, the law requires pawnshop owners to obtain identification when receiving property. Otherwise, the practice simply encourages criminals to profit from items that are stolen.
But now that police are in the well-intentioned business of getting guns off the street in this manner, it has the “appearance” of a good idea. However, with “no questions asked,” critics argue that it motivates people to steal legally possessed firearms and then profit from their theft at the behest of police. It seems to be an incongruent ordeal.
— SFPDCares (@SFPDCares) December 16, 2017