Why Cops Love Gun Buybacks

Not to put too fine a point on it, gun buybacks have about as much to do with reducing crime as Jenna Dewan has to do with arc welding (that’s Jennifer Beal’s thing). At best, the practice Hoovers up a few big boxes of deeply unloved and unloveable broken-ass firearms. Gun buybacks do, however, afford politicians the opportunity to prove that they’re “doing something” about “gun violence.” As we’ve pointed out many times, gun buybacks are a lot more expensive (i.e. wasteful) than their sponsors let on. Even when the gift cards involved are donated by private business, running the programs costs a fortune. Specifically, taxpayer money pays for cops to take, collect and destroy guns. Thanks to azstarnet.com, we can put some numbers to that . . .

Tucson Police Department records show just under $10,000 was spent on 42 police officers who worked at Councilman Steve Kozachik’s gun buyback event last January.

A local gun-rights advocate said the numbers prove Kozachik was misleading the public when he claimed the buyback wouldn’t waste taxpayer’s money.

Ken Rineer, president of Gun Owners of Arizona, said with TPD resources already stretched thin, the department could ill-afford to take officers off the street just “to take in a bunch of .22 bolt-action rifles from people’s closets.”

But Kozachik said he’s not to blame for the number of officers present that day.

OK, I just have to interrupt here. Who the hell could Kozachik blame other than himself for $10k out of city coffers to collect 206 lame guns? Give up? Before I reveal the “real” culprit know this: taking 42 officers off the roster at one time impacts response times to 911 calls.

“If people like Ken Rineer hadn’t hyped this, it wouldn’t have been a volatile issue,” Kozachik said. “This was a benign event. If they had treated this like it was an ice cream social instead of Armageddon Day for the Second Amendment, there wouldn’t have been a need for so many officers.”

Records indicate TPD recognized in advance that protesters and a large number of people turning in guns would likely attend. The department wanted to ensure staffing levels could properly monitor and protect all those who showed up.

TPD spokesman Sgt. Chris Widmer said no serious issues occurred because officers were assigned to the buyback, although he conceded response times could have suffered slightly since some of the officers would have been on patrol at the time.

“We wouldn’t want to be in the habit of doing this all the time,” Widmer said. “Call response times may have been slower. … But there were no losses on the streets.”

Three more points. One, they weren’t protesters. They were gun collectors and gun rights advocates looking to save guns from the crusher. Two, can we stop this stupidity already? And three . . .

Rineer said the true cost remains unknown since the city won’t reveal how much it cost to destroy the guns.

TPD cites “security reasons” as to why it doesn’t give out information regarding the company it contracts with to dispose of the firearms.

I can understand that. Gun buybacks? Not at all.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

44 Responses to Why Cops Love Gun Buybacks

  1. avatarWyatt says:

    A breakdown of turned-in firearms would have been interesting.

  2. avatarjwm says:

    All guns seized by the local, state and federal cops that are not returned to their rightful owners and are legal for citizen use should be turned over to contract ffl’s and sold off. The proceeds would help budgets and the guns would go to good homes.

    • avatarCameron S. says:

      But then the nicer ones couldn’t end up in their personal collections for free!

    • avatarDucky says:

      Actually, this turned out to be a good thing for Arizona. The following bill was a direct consequence of Special K’s buyback. The following is actually an old update, and this bill is already on the governer’s desk.
      HB 2455, the AzCDL-requested bill that would clarify that firearms voluntarily surrendered to a state or local entity cannot be destroyed and must be sold, also passed out of the Senate on April 16 by a vote of 19 to 11 and was sent back to the House where it will soon be forwarded to the Governor for her consideration.

    • avatarMark Horning says:

      This is actually AZ state law. The City of Tucson broke the law and destroyed the firearms anyway claiming that the law only applied to seized weapons and not ones that were voluntarily turned in.

  3. avatarRoscoe says:

    But without gun buy backs, how else could political actors oops I mean law enforcement get serious weapons off the street like the two DoD rocket launchers Charlie Beck was able to buy back at one of these events earlier this year in LA?

    Oh, I’m sorry. Those rocket launchers were revealed be someone with “common sense” to actually be inert practice devices.

    Well, at least they were able to get a lot of old dangerous JUNK off the streets – so it can’t be used to bludgeon anyone to death.

  4. avatarHaiku Guy says:

    Ev’ry decent gun
    Is now in a cop’s home safe.
    The junk guns get crushed…

  5. avatarAlphaGeek says:

    Gun buybacks bug the crap out of me, and it was especially galling when my city held one recently. Sure, a private donor funded the buyback (idiot) but the city totally footed the bill for staffing the event. Unknown whether the donor covered the cost of destruction, but it doesn’t seem likely.

  6. avatarRalph says:

    I hope that gun “buybacks” continue until every city that does them goes broke buying broke-ass guns. How great would that be!

    • avatarRoscoe says:

      Many’r already broke…they don’t need gun buybacks to accomplish that; just incompetent beholden be all to all Democrat politicians and fashionably liberal progressive sheeple along with union leeches who keep electing them.

      I guess the beer’s startin’ to show.

  7. avatarJohn Moses says:

    As I have said many times before…you can’t buyback that which never owned.

  8. avatarbgreene says:

    I’m a cop and I do not like gun buybacks. Thinking that a gangbanger is going to turn in their gat for a couple bucks is seriously stupid.

    • avatarRoscoe says:

      Sorry, I didn’t mean to denigrate working coppers with my previous statement ’bout the LAPD buybacks. My ire is focused on the administrators who pander to the politically correct cause of the day to further their wanna be political ambitions.

    • avatarAccur81 says:

      Welcome to TTAG! It’s not the friendliest place for 5-0, but with stupid things like gun buybacks and shooting the wrong truck, sometimes those sentiments are perfectly understandable.

      I don’t support buybacks either. Thankfully, my agency does not participate at such things.

      • avatarbgreene says:

        I notice the anti police chatter every now and again, and its always about the few bad apples that make a bad name for the majority of us out there. Mostly those comments are off base and not really what goes on in day to day police work. Personally I like the snarky comments here.
        The funny thing about the gun turn ins is the police don’t orginize them or fund them they just run them after the city/county officials tell them to. Mostly for overtime, and who could turn down easy OT?

        • avatarSGC says:

          RF has a special love spot in his heart for cops here, but I still hang around just to be a thorn in posts like this one.

          People who elect politicians like that moron deserve to have their tax dollars wasted by cops wanting to make some overtime cash! Good for them…:)

  9. avatarpk in AZ says:

    Our Arizona legislature just passed a law “redefining” the wording on any “gun buy backs”….

    The firearms can no longer be destroyed!

    They have to be sold!

    Because of the original wording in the bill, the city of Tucson was able to do this one where the firearms were destroyed….

    BUT NO MORE!

  10. avatarOut_Fang_Thief says:

    These gun “buy backs” seem to be exclusively liberal-democrat ideas.
    So it begs the question. Are democrats intentionally politicizing the police? The democrats hold a BB event, and police act as their private security detail. Is this an unintended conflict of interest for the police, if only in appearance, to be supporting the democrat sponsored Gun BB? Is this conditioning people to give up their guns to democrats and the police?

  11. avatarRuss Bixby says:

    I dunno; electric, hot, forms a firm bond through freakin’ melting the base material…

    Yeah, she has EVERYTHING to do with arc welding.

  12. avatarKen Hagler says:

    Has anyone ever tried to determine how many criminals use these things to get paid for letting the government destroy evidence for them?

  13. avatarAmanathia says:

    As Ken asked above, that’s the problem with gun buyback programs right there.

    It does waste taxpayer money, that is a problem, but that isn’t the biggest problem with it.

    The biggest issue is that far from helping to “stop crime” it’s going to have unintended consequences…

    1. Common sense tells us that the guns turned in by law-abiding citizens won’t be guns used in crime anyway. They are, if you look at pictures, mostly old rifles. Even if someone turns in an AR or AK, that’s irrelevant–modern semi-auto rifles just flat out aren’t used in crime in a statistically significant fashion. The few handguns turned in by law abiding citizens who weren’t using them (or were using them, but legally) will have a statistically insignificant impact on any crimes. I have no idea what the number of crimes might be prevented by these programs (ie, someone turns a gun in that would later have been stolen) but it’s probably a handful per year (if that).

    2. If you are a criminal who has used a gun in a crime, this gives you a way to dispose of your crime weapon in a no-questions asked method, AND get paid for it. This is paying a criminal to have the police dispose of evidence for them. They can then use the money from the buy back (or sell the gift card, whatever) to get another gun that won’t be traced to their crimes. Rinse, repeat. The police/communities are literally paying the criminals to destroy evidence that could be used to convict them. Does that make any sense??? It’s completely backwards.

    What SHOULD happen, if someone wants to do a gun buyback program is:

    1. You go turn the gun in and get the money (or gift card, whatever).

    2. Guns must be in working condition, and must be guns that are statistically used in crime OR must be a way to dispose of illegal unregistered NFA items in a way that will give you amnesty for having them (ie, the buyback would only buy back handguns and unregistered illegal NFA items).

    3. NFA items go to an FFL that can handle them, and are registered with the ATF. If they are useful items, the FFL pays the police for them (yay, the taxpayers get their money back and maybe some profit) and then can sell them to someone legally and get the item entered into the system. If they are ghetto illegal machine guns, etc, they can be turned over to the ATF then the ATF can destroy them.

    4. Handguns are sold to an FFL (yay, profit for the taxpayers, they get their money back + maybe some extra that the cops can keep for their department, much better that they make some cash that way than from forfeiture and such!). The FFL then sells them for profit to people who go through a background check, getting them out of the hands of criminals and into the hands of law abiding citizens. Then, if the gun ends up having been used in a crime, the gun is in the system and the Police could (after compensating the legal owner) use it for evidence if needed.

    Logic, it’s so hard~

  14. avatarMH121 says:

    Didn’t anyone notice…this NEWS channel CANNOT be anti-gun because they are K-G-U-N……. they should change their call letters at once.

    How can libtards actually watch a station with GUN in its name?

  15. avatardirk diggler says:

    Has anyone tried a FOIA request to determine the cost? Or are the newspapers seriously that lazy?

  16. avatarPantera Vazquez says:

    206 guns purchased, town claims to have spent circa 10g. that’s just short of $50 per unit. That number just makes no sense,as Much mores money is spent is on administrative and police costs. This of course is without accounting for whatever was spent for disposal. People turning in the firearms, for the most part are law-abiding citizens, hence these guns were not a problem in the hands that held them. Criminals for the most part, will not give up guns to buybacks, lest of course they were used in crimes, yet these being no questions asked scenarios, it is a win-win situation for the criminal, allowing them to dispose of evidence which could have been used against them. In the long run these are nothing more than feel good projects to allow politicians to pat themselves on the back, while the taxpayer does not, as usual, see the folly and waste.

  17. avatarClyde T. O'Briant says:

    I was at that event, trying to buy a couple of guns :) . There was no need for the presence of that many officers, and they did restrict us in our attempts to incite the turn in people to let us buy those guns.

  18. avatarLarry says:

    Many years so my city had its first buy back program. They held it At a few city firehouses, they paid I think 25 for long guns and 50 for handguns.

    The line as quite long in fact,mostly folks getting rid of grandpa’s old hunting guns though. Um as a firefighter,lets just say many of the brothers got screaming good deals off those not wishing to stand in the line….

    I recommend everyone start there own buy back program, its for he kids.

    Where else can you get Sweet 16′s for 25 bucks?

  19. avatarTim says:

    The article refers to unloveable guns.

    No gun is unloveable. You can donate any unloveable ones to me and I promise they will get a good home with me

  20. avatarRuss Bixby says:

    Reference the concerns that GBB programmes are a great way to dispose of evidence, I’d be quite surprised were something akin to the following not occurring:

    - guns of type used in a recent (say one year) unsolved regional crime are held aside for a closer look-see;
    - all guns are fingerprinted;
    - a luminol or similar blood test is conducted on the muzzle area;
    - if complete and operational, a reference shot is made with ammunition of type apropos to any unsolved regional crime for later comparrison;
    - high resolution, multi-camera surveillance footage of the event is kept so the dicks’ll have a jumping-off point.

    It ain’t rocket science.

    EDIT: The “cost of disposal” is nothing more than the hourly of an officer to ensure that they actually go into the shredder at a scrap yard. The yard will even pay by weight for the steel.

  21. avatarRuss Bixby says:

    Hmmm… my previous comment begs a question.

    How many weapons out there work with “improper” ammunition?

    F’rinstance, were I a clever Black Hat intending no good, would it not make sense to shoot my victim with my trusty Nagant M1895 but load it with .32 S&W, .32 Magnum et cetera?

    This would presumably throw the wolves off my scent, no?

    With how many weapons is this possible? Just curious.

  22. avatarEnsitue says:

    I Australia the cops bought the guns w/tax dollars and re-sold them to street gangs

  23. avatarSaul Feldstein says:

    How does the govt “buyback” something they never owned in the first place?

  24. avatarRandy Drescher says:

    A shocker, an absolute shocker that Jenna can’t weld, I’m sure she’s an accomplished blacksmith though. Hopefully I’ll hear I gotta have a plan, Randy

  25. avatarS.CROCK says:

    i saw a lot of bolt action rifles and single action revolvers sold back, not quite a gang members weapons of choice. i saw one old lady get ripped off for her dead husbands firearms. i saw one old man get ripped off for for his guns his father probably gave him. all in all, a successful day for the grabbers push for civilian disarmament. the most annoying part is the city wastes money to destroy them. why don’t the have gun safety classes with them? or sell the guns and build a park.

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