I get the feeling that the general public is beginning to see that government-sponsored “gun buybacks” are a sham. For one thing, there is no demonstrable, appreciable link between paying taxpayer (or donated) money for crappy-ass guns and a reduction in “gun violence.” No wonder New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino is feeling the heat.
Enough, anyway, that Mr. Porrino felt obliged to justify this weekend’s Garden State “gun buyback.” He penned an editorial for nj.com entitled Why I want to buy your guns.
Given the headline, you’d [almost] be forgiven for thinking Mr. Porrino wants to buy residents’ gats because he likes guns. No. No he doesn’t. He reckons they’re instruments of evil. But the AG’s reasoning for the “gun buyback” is decidedly lacklustre.
Like this . . .
Gun violence is a complex issue, and buybacks certainly are not a complete solution. But all anyone needs to do is read news stories from across the nation – including New Jersey – to know that guns left lying around the home are a common source of tragedy.
Some doubters question the overall efficacy of buybacks, while others suggest that buybacks tend to bring in mostly old “attic” guns.
But once a gun has been turned in and melted down – as every firearm obtained through these buybacks will be — it can never be stashed in a vacant building or used as a community gun to commit crime after crime. It can never be stolen in a burglary and used later in a violent crime. And it can never fall into the hands of a curious child.
Stashed in a vacant building? Who does that? Certainly not the kind of citizens who’ll be trading their firearms for cash.
Mr. Porrino’s op-ed soon abandons his weak sauce “buyback” justification to tout his plan to get tough on people caught with illegally held firearms. By way of a conclusion, the AG returns to the issue at hand — and stumbles straight into something not unlike the truth.
Through these buybacks, incidentally, another, perhaps less obvious benefit has been accruing. From what we’ve seen, and from what our local partners tell us, these buybacks have a galvanizing effect in our communities and they help create public awareness.
Many people in the community are energized by their participation. They feel that, by turning in a gun, serving as an on-site volunteer at one of the churches, simply spreading the word, or supporting the effort in some other way, they are making a contribution.
This empowering of communities is welcome. It is real, and it matters.
In other words, I know these “gun buybacks” are ineffective, but they make uninformed, gang-beleaguered New Jersey citizens feel better. And there you have it.