While hundreds waited in line for hours at the College Park gun buy back program today, an aide of State Senator Donzella James quietly provided preferential treatment to a few members of the crowd. Without making any announcement of it, the Senator’s aide periodically pulled people out of the line and ushered them to the back door of the Auditorium where they apparently received expedited processing for their firearms.
Although the program was scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., those arriving at the start time found that hundreds of people were already in line at the College Park Auditorium where the buy back was held. The line moved slightly in the first hour but then seemed to stop moving. Before the line stopped moving, the James aide was seen to approach some people in line and escort them to the back of the building.
When asked about the expedited processing, a College Park police officer at the back door commented: “I don’t ask questions, I just do what I’m told.” Another said: “[He’s] worked in College Park a long time.” An officer walking along the main waiting line stated: “We’re not going to be able to accommodate all of you.”
None of the firearms that received preferential treatment appeared to be the “assault weapons” targeted by the program. Those that were visible were single shot shotguns and other hunting firearms. At least one was stated to be a “.32 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver.”
There was such a large turnout that many in line speculated that they might not receive any of the $20,000 cash allocated to the program. A sign was posted stating “Cash for Guns Will be available until funds are depleted.” The possibility that preferred constituents might not receive any monies could be the reason special treatment was provided for some.
Senator James will be hosting a “Gun Violence Forum” next Wednesday in the Coverdell Office building across from the Capitol. It is unknown whether she will be addressing the reason for the low profile preferential treatment provided by her aide today.