Stan Smith, of Viola, did not “expect the world to rise up” when last month he offered $500 to anyone who would surrender their AR-14 or AR-15 rifle to be destroyed and sign a pledge to give that money to a charity of their choice.
But a Caldwell man visiting the area on a hunting trip did rise to the occasion by giving his AR-14 rifle to Smith.
Smith, 75, said the hunter told him to donate the $500 to a charity of Smith’s choice. Smith chose his favorite Moscow charity — Family Promise of the Palouse, a nonprofit organization that provides shelter to homeless families.
Smith, a former social studies teacher at Moscow High School and current substitute teacher at local schools, said he told Bruce Pitman, founder of the Palouse branch of Family Promise, that the nonprofit is the “most significant” organization in Moscow in Smith’s 56 years of living in the area.
In addition to the Caldwell man, Smith said a Moscow couple plan to donate money toward purchasing and destroying rifles that residents surrender.
Smith said he expects to schedule a public meeting this month or next month at the 1912 Center in Moscow to gauge community members’ interest in his gun buyback challenge. Smith also spoke with a Boise attorney about potentially turning the project into a nonprofit organization.
Smith said he accomplished his goal of getting one of the rifles, which he referred to as “weapons of war,” out of circulation. While he said he does not have the financial means to pay for other rifles to be destroyed, he hopes others take action as he has.
“We just have to wait and see, but I’m satisfied with having done something,” Smith said.
Smith told the Daily News last month he is frustrated with politicians not taking action on gun legislation to help prevent mass shootings, so he decided to take matters into his own hands.
“I don’t have a problem with guns,” he said Wednesday. “I own three guns and I’ve hunted since I was 12 years old.”
But he said in October that AR-14s and AR-15s have resulted in mass killings and residents should not be allowed to own them.
Smith can be reached at email@example.com.
Garrett Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.