Gun buyback programs create a market for stolen firearms. They lower the chances of solving firearms-related crimes. So why do it? “Every gun we get off the streets is one less potential fatality,” Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said, pithily enough. Citation? Didn’t think so. Like every other politician promoting gun buybacks, Buckhorn is horning-in on the “feel good” vibe generated by the destruction of a pile of broken ass guns. He’s pushing “common sense gun control;” firearms policy dictated by uncritical thought. Pardon me while I touch the sky . . .
During yesterday’s Tampa gun buyback at the Seminole Heights Baptist Church, the cops took possession of “more than a thousand” weapons. They shelled out $50 a pop. I make that $50k. Plus the administrative costs, which would be what? $20k? Minus $12,500 donated by the [slumping] Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team and another $5k from a fund established by the bereaved widows of two local police officers murdered in the line of duty.
Is it worth it? If you ascribe to the IOLIS (If One Life Is Saved) School of Taxpayer Tit Sucking, of course it’s worth it. A criminal goes to get a gun to commit a crime. It’s not there! The clever owner (Mom?) traded the weapon for $50. So . . . he gets another one.
Seriously. Is there anyone who believes that removing a thousand skanky guns from Tampa is going to make it harder for criminals to get ahold of a firearm? Is there any rational thought in play here?
If gun buybacks worked, they would lower the supply of guns available to criminals. That would drive up the price. Bad guys would then have even more incentive to steal firearms. The weapons would be worth more on the street. And it’s not as if bad guys are going to say “Screw it, I’ll use a knife.” Unless they did.
Anyway, if gun buybacks reduced the supply, there’d be more home invasions and burglaries. A successful gun buyback would increase crime.
Ain’t gonna happen. America is still, to a point, a free market system. If Tampa’s gun supply went down and the price for stolen guns went up, someone would supply the criminal class with guns imported from someplace where guns are cheaper and more readily available (as they no doubt already do).
In short, gun buybacks are an epic fail—except as a publicity exercise. But gun buybacks are more than stupid. They’re an insidious way to disarm American citizens.
Lower income Americans have a pressing need for armed self-defense. They’re the ones living in high crime areas. They’re the ones who should have a firearm to protect themselves against violence and theft. We should be encouraging (i.e. helping) inner city Americans to tool-up for their own safety.
Relative to that [theoretical] effort, gun buybacks seem benign. No one has to turn in a gun. Lawful gun owners can turn in “bad” guns and hang onto “good” ones. Gun buybacks may not encourage people to own fully-functional firearms. But they don’t discourage armed self-defense. Only they do.
Gun buybacks perpetuate the culture of gun control; demonizing guns and perpetuating the idea that the removing firearms from communities is the key to stopping gun-related crimes. To paraphrase the B52’s, WELL IT ISN’T.
There are a lot of ways to reduce crime. Gun control isn’t one of them. There’s no hard evidence that society can reduce criminal access to firearms. There’s no hard evidence that reducing criminal access to firearms would lower crime rates. In the UK, an island nation that reduced (but not eliminated) the population of illegal guns, Draconian gun control had no appreciable effect on crime rates.
As long as there are guns, criminals will have access to them. We can’t eliminate guns from society; that ship sailed about 100 million guns ago. Nor should we try to de-gun America. Firearms are an effective way for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves against violent attacks (including rape), protect their property and ensure social justice.
The bottom line: instead of gun buybacks, we should be offering lower income Americans gun exchanges. It’s the only sensible policy.