Gun buy backs are in the news. I don’t have anything against them, really. There are some problems, however.
In Seattle, they’re having another gun buy back. They had one in 1992. Here’s what happened.
The year was 1992 and city leaders hoped a gun buyback effort would decrease gun violence that was sending Seattle toward a record homicide rate. However, the average number of firearms-related homicides actually increased in the six months following the 1992 gun buyback program. The numbers remained high, and in 1994 Seattle had a record 69 homicides – nearly three times what the city had last year.
In the six months after Seattle’s 1992 gun buyback, the average number of firearms-related homicides increased. The mean number of firearms-related assaults also increased, as did the mean number of robberies with guns. Even the mean number of accident shooting deaths more than doubled, according to data in a government journal.
Ok, so it didn’t work.
Still, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn referenced that 1992 effort when announcing a similar one Tuesday morning. In the latest county-wide effort, police also promise anonymity and have $100,000 in community support. “This gun buyback program can help us protect public health and safety and reduce gun violence in our communities,” McGinn said.
Mayor, either you’re not paying attention to what happened in the previous gun buy-back, or not paying attention to what you’re saying? Gotta be one or the other.
So, if they had a gun buy-back program that didn’t affect gun violence, why would that be?
In 1992, Seattle had a significant gang problem. But gang members weren’t even close to the majority of people utilizing the gun buyback.
“A surprising number of older citizens and women participated in the (buyback), apparently exchanging guns that they no longer wanted,” a follow-up report in the government journal Public Health Reports read. “The overall proportion of guns exchanged by minors was approximately 5 percent.”
Nearly 20 percent of the guns weren’t operational, all but 5 percent were handguns, and in a year when youth violence was the main concern, the average age of people participating was 51 years old.
Ah Ha! So the people selling back the guns aren’t the people committing those crimes? Fascinating.
Read the whole thing for yourself here.
Ok, so what about the new clean-up?
No ballistics tests will be conducted on the weapons, but the department planned to check to see if the guns were stolen and return those to the owners. (Article)
So, you’re not going to run ballistics tests, but you’re going to buy them back, see if they’re stolen, and return them to the owners? Are you #%$& me? I’m hatching a plan worthy of Michael Douglas in his prime in one of those romance-murder movies.
Ok, well, there are other gun buy-backs. They had one in Trenton, New Jersey. Let’s take a look.
In Trenton, Before the cash ran out, participants got $25 for BB guns, $50 for inoperable guns….
At the Mount Zion Church, Ralph Nalepka of Millstone was standing in line with a small box filled with six guns, mostly .22-caliber pistols, he said.
“I’ve had these forever. I’m getting older and I wanted to dispose of them. You can sell these online, but you never who’s going to buy them, and we have enough problems now as firearms owners,” he said. “I’ll tell you, this is a good thing, this buyout. If you get 1,000 guns off the street, you’re probably going to save a life.”
Actually, Ralph, the facts prove you wrong, but thanks for the commentary. You sound like a real criminal. Anyway, $25 for a BB gun, $50 for an inoperable gun?? Yea, that’s really cleaning up the streets. Read about the Trenton clean up here.
The Cincinnati newspaper ran a nice article about why gun buy backs are ineffective.
The relatively small number of guns recovered isn’t the only problem, Scott said. Buyback programs tend to attract people who are least likely to commit crimes and to retrieve guns that are least likely to be used in crimes.
Scott and others say violent criminals – the people who do most of the shooting and killing – steer clear of buyback programs unless they’re trying to make some quick cash by selling a weapon they don’t want anymore.
That means buyback campaigns more often end up with hunting rifles or old revolvers from someone’s attic than with automatic weapons from the trunk of a criminal’s car. (Article)
Pretty simple really. Scarface isn’t going to go to the gun buy-back and sell “My little frien…”
In a 2004 research report on firearms and violence by the National Academies Press, regarding gun-buy backs they stated that:
It is the committee’s view that the theory underlying gun buy-back programs is badly flawed and the empirical evidence demonstrates the ineffectiveness of these programs.
In light of the weakness in the theory underlying gun buy-backs, it is not surprising that research evaluations of U.S. efforts have consistently failed to document any link between such programs and reductions in gun violence (Callahan et al., 1994; Police Executive Research Forum, 1996; Rosenfeld, 1996).
Ok, so it’s not that there’s anything wrong with Ralphie selling back his “Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle” but there’s a lot of money being spent that could be used more effectively, in addition to the fact that it’s the same, stupid, knee-jerk action the some folks take that provide them some sort of sense of comfort while being completely ineffective. It’s like wearing one of those cause-ribbons. You’re not actually doing anything, but you can sit on the couch and feel better about things.
So Cmon, Mayor, quit angling for the “My picture with a stack of dangerous guns” photo op and let’s try something that might actually impact the problem. We all hope you were elected for some reason other than you had more money than the person running against you, so try applying some creativity, intelligence, and maybe a little research to the problem.