That the best response a New York City councilman can manage after a triple murder is to call for a gun buyback really isn’t news. Just another hack politician grabbing a little pub, wanting to be seen as “doing something.” Yawn. But when the local DA – not to mention a public radio outlet – questions the effectiveness of the, um, strategy, that’s something worthy of note. The response to Councilman James Sanders’ bold brainstorm seems to be a resounding “meh.” Which in one of the most anti-gun cities in the country counts as progress. A baby step, sure, but one in the right direction . . .
As wnyc.org reports, the Queens borough DA isn’t isn’t going to dance to the councilman’s worn out tune. At least not now.
“We have used gun buy backs in the past and we will use them again when we deem them appropriate. We are in constant dialogue with the NYPD about where and when to have one,” (Richard) Brown said in a statement.
Brown also says individuals they can always turn guns in at their local precincts for $100.
What’s that? New Yorkers can drop a gun off at the local cop shop (at least in Queens) any time and get a c-note? Does John Boch know that?
Anyway, WNYC – yes, a National Public Radio affiliate – at least acknowledges in their report that gun buybacks are pretty much a waste of time.
…Jon Vernick, professor at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, said that although the programs are popular there’s no evidence linking them to a reduction in street crime.
“It’s often the case that buy backs have to promise a fairly substantial monetary or other incentive, and when you total up the cost that these gun buy backs incur, that’s money that could be better spent elsewhere,” Vernick said.
Here’s an idea for that money: instead, buy some guns for citizens who live in crime-ridden neighborhoods but can’t otherwise afford them. But that’s just kooky talk.
Vernick said guns turned in tend to be older, lower-caliber revolvers. He says the guns used in crimes are usually high-caliber and semi-automatic pistols.
He also says gun buybacks don’t reach the population most at risk to engage in street crime: young men.
No news there, at least not here. But props to WNYC anyway for playing it straight, no? Speaking truth to power. Stickin’ it to the man. (Whatever sixties-ish lefty slogan raises their self esteem is fine by us.) Given prevailing attitudes towards boomsticks in Bloombergia, you have to take your progress wherever you find it.