Unusual clarity on the gun buyback question from, of all places, upstate New York at democratandchronicle.com: “Criminal justice experts from the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Academy of Sciences, Rochester’s current and former police chiefs and pro-gun groups have for years questioned the efficacy of gun buy back programs. So why do communities keep having them?” Couldn’t have asked the question better ourselves. Why is Rochester Chief James Sheppard planning to hold a buyback he knows will only yield a pile of junk that’s “not the guns that are being used on our streets”? For the jailbirds, of course . . .
A group of Orleans Correctional Facility inmates — some incarcerated for murder and other gun-related crimes — raised $1,050 in the prison to pay for the buyback. About 100 inmates participated in the program, raising just dollars per day, and have been dubbed the Civic Duty Initiative Team.
Awww, isn’t that special? So with matching funds provided by a local church and the requisite grocery store chain looking to burnish its civic boosterism bona fides, Chief Sheppard’s gonna give the gun buyback the go-ahead anyway.
Sheppard said he was moved by the actions of the inmates, and said he hopes their motivation may drive the community to bring in handguns that might otherwise have been used for violence.
Still, Sheppard’s position on buybacks has not changed: “If it weren’t for these inmates, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
Got that? The chief knows good and well he won’t get any “meaningful” guns off the street. None of the heaters held by gang bangers most likely to be used in a future crime. At best he’ll collect a bunch of broken ass crap. At worst, he’ll be providing actual criminals with a great way to get rid of evidence of who-knows-how-many crimes on a no questions asked basis.
“That’s part of the offer, we’re not going to check it for anything, we destroy it,” he said. “As part of our offer to bring the guns in, we’re saying there will be no questions asked. There will be no investigation about where the gun came from and what it was used for.”
Nice job, chief. You’ll get an afternoon of meaningless community safety theater at no cost to the taxpayers of Rochester — other than the salaries of the cops who’ll be taken off the streets to man the buyback operation. And all to boost the self esteem of a bunch of enterprising inmates. We couldn’t come up with a better example of modern civic governance if we tried.