Man Claims Police Arrested Him For Embarrassing Them At Gun Buyback

A firearms instructor was arrested after a disagreement with Miami PD about the prices quoted for AR-15 parts.

Miami, FL – A shooting instructor and gun collector was arrested after he made a scene at a gun buyback event and accused the city of Miami of “ripping people off.”

John Gillis told the Miami New Times that he contacted the Miami Police Department ahead of their scheduled buyback day to find out what they would pay him for 27 AR-15 lower receivers.

Gillis said the police department said they would pay $250 per AR-15.

So Gillis, a National Rifle Association firearms instructor and avid gun collector, took the AR-15s to the Miami PD’s gun buyback on March 17 with every intent of selling them to the police department, the Miami New Times reported.

But when he arrived at the buyback with his lower receivers, Miami police offered him only $17 per receiver.

"They refused to take 27 AR-15s off the street as far as I'm concerned," Gillis told Miami New Times. "The Miami Police Department doesn't classify this as a firearm.”

AR-15s are customizable weapons, and lower receivers like what Gillis was trying to sell back are the part of the gun that provides housing for internal components like the hammer.

It's also the part of the gun that's considered the "gun," with other components simply being parts.

The lower receiver of an AR-15 with a serial number is considered a firearm in its own right, and requires a background check for purchase if it is more than 80 percent complete, Buckeye Firearms Association Executive Director Dean Rieck told the Miami New Times in an emailed statement.

Rieck said an incomplete lower receiver for an AR-15 can only be purchased without a background check if it requires additional work before it is operable.

Gillis said he challenged the officers who were negotiating for his guns and wouldn’t honor the prices given in advance on the phone.

“I asked for that in writing, but they wouldn't give it to me. They had initially promised $250 for the lower receivers, but now they only wanted to pay $17," he told the Miami New Times.

Each lower receiver was actually worth about $50, Gillis said.

Frustrated with the treatment he had received, the firearms expert figured there would be other unhappy customers arriving at the buyback.

So Gillis parked his Jeep in front of the buyback and posted a sign on it that said “I Buy Guns.”

That’s when officers decided to question the angry firearms instructor and his friend who had accompanied him to the buyback.

Police eventually arrested Gillis and his friend right there for contracting without a license, the Miami New Times reported.

"I wasn't contracting anything; I wasn't running a business. I just embarrassed them and annoyed them, so they wanted to teach me a lesson," Gillis said.

The arrest report said he told officers that he was offering to buy guns from the public rather than let the city “keep ripping people off.”

The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office told the Miami New Times that charges had been dropped against Gillis and his friend due to lack of evidence on June 6.

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So this gun dealer thought the Miami taxpayers should give him a pay day to the tune of $200 per "lower" over their cost new? SCUM BAG.

Blue Ocean1
Blue Ocean1

How about the initial call taker didn't understand it was 'lowers" only and not a full AR?? Did he inquire what the buy price for a full AR was at the time he brought them to the buy back site??? Certainly sounds like probable cause may have been missing at the time of the arrest. It will hinge on the commercial code laws in the area for street vending..


Who is going to sell a AR in good condition for $250 let alone $17, sounds like there was some deception to me, tell them what it takes to get them in the door. Then give them the "you must have misunderstood me". Stuff like this is why it is hard to trust our government. I support our police fully, but that does not mean I agree with everything they do.


Buybacks does no good. People simply as a means to get a few bucks for junk or nonfunctioning guns. It simply cost taxpayers. Do you think a mugger, killer or any other lawbreaker turns in weapons.


Idiots that intentionally go to cause a problem simply give decent owners a bad name.

Lowers can be bought for 25 or less. Sounds like his "i buy guns" stand would run afoul of the ffl regulations. 27 lowers? Was he building to sell?