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.