LA Times Op Ed: Gun Buybacks Suck

“Imagine you’re a carpenter who has fallen on hard times,” Dan Turner’s Op Ed at latimes.com suggests. “The city announces that it’s giving away $100 gift certificates good for buying groceries to anybody who turns in a full set of construction tools. Are you going to hand in your hammers and saws and assure that you’ll never work again? Only if you’re exceptionally desperate or exceptionally stupid. This is the principle at play with the city of L.A.’s gun buyback program, which Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Police Chief Charlie Beck announced Friday.” True, only more so . . .

One can easily imagine the Southwest Regional Carpenter’s Union spending a portion of its $28m per year training budget to create a program that buys tools from non-union carpenters.

Of course, the exceptionally desperate or exceptionally stupid people involved with the LA gun buyback program aren’t carpenters or criminals . . .

Well, not criminals per se. I mean, we are talking about California politicians: self-righteous slime who understand that their power depends on a credible combination of obfuscation and emotional manipulation. To wit: Hizzoner’s Facebook page’s pronouncement on the buyback’s timing:

“Tomorrow is the day before Mother’s Day, and we chose this day for the Gun Buyback Program because too many mothers lose their children due to gun violence. This is our opportunity to make a real difference for our children, our families and our future.”

Or not, as LAT scribe Dan Turner points out in no uncertain terms.

As we laid out in a 2009 editorial, there’s no evidence that they do. In fact, a 2004 National Research Council report concluded that they’re ineffective. In part, that’s because only a comparatively tiny number of guns are handed in — perhaps a couple of thousand in a city that harbors millions of firearms . . .

Typically, the participants in gun buyback programs show up with old, unused and possibly broken firearms that they’d like to be rid of but that have little resale value. Some of them are collectors who will take the city’s grocery money and use the savings to buy a newer, better weapon. These aren’t the kinds of guns that were going to be used in a drive-by shooting.

As TTAG’s pointed out on many occasions, gun buybacks actually create a market for stolen guns (the size of which depends on the price offered. The “no questions asked” trade-in policy also eliminates the chances of clearing-up serious firearms-involved crimes.

Did I mention the fact that Los Angeles County uses tax money to subsidize this anti-ballistic boondoggle? In 2010, LA forked out $197,400 to residents turning in 1,216 handguns, 747 rifles, 463 shotguns and 85 assault weapons ($100 “bonus”). PLUS the administrative costs (same again?).

Bottom line: taxpayers are getting hammered by hypocrisy. Again. Still.