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Rochester PD Chief: Gun Buybacks Suck, But Let’s Do It for the Inmates

Unusual clarity on the gun buyback question from, of all places, upstate New York at “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.


  1. avatar girlswithguns says:

    “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.”

    So they’re offering to destroy potential criminal evidence. I’m sure crime victims and the families of murder victims are especially grateful.

    Why isn’t the DA’s office objecting??

    1. avatar Mashashin says:

      That is par for the course at these buy back programs

  2. avatar DaveL says:

    It’s great that the inmates have gotten together to raise money for the benefit of the community. Now here’s a question: do any of them have kids? Kids being raised by a single mom without their fathers’ support? Now, can anyone think of a more constructive use for that money?

    1. avatar MacBeth51 says:

      But they are looking ahead to when they are released. Every gun brought in is one less for them to potentially face when they resume their previous activities.

      1. avatar elnonio says:

        By the same token, every gun bought back is one less gun available to steal. If, of course, you chose the cynical approach that these immates aren’t motivated by altruism or some such (however miguided) .

  3. avatar Pascal says:

    This is a perfect example of what democratic majority northeastern governments at the local and state level have become. They may know something will not work, but they will stop at nothing to waste money on “feel good” efforts that do not solve any problem rather than act like grown ups and use that money for something that will make a difference.

    This is along the same line as the local schools in my area who will not have Halloween this year but instead have harvest festival so as not to offend those who practice “Wicca” – or other religions – and wish I was making this up as I write this but this is thinking we have today – logic is thrown out so we don’t hurt anyone’s “feelings”.

    While there must be a balance, we are just getting stupid and then wonder why larger problems cannot be solved.

    1. avatar DaveL says:

      This is along the same line as the local schools in my area who will not have Halloween this year but instead have harvest festival so as not to offend those who practice “Wicca” – or other religions

      You mean, Christianity? I know who makes a stink about the celebration of Halloween in my neck of the woods, and it sure as hell isn’t Wiccans or other minority religions.

      1. avatar Derek Dauma (formerly Other Derek) says:

        Christianity’s holidays are just reboots of pagan holidays anyway.

        Personally, my two big ones are Walpurgisnacht and Halloween.

        1. avatar Peritas says:

          We need to bring back Saturnalia! It’s about time that I get to make laws to make politicians’ lives miserable. I wouldn’t mind throwing a few crooked cops in jail, either.

        2. avatar Chas says:

          “Christianity’s holidays are just reboots of pagan holidays anyway.”

          This has been debunked so many times it’s not funny, yet people keep repeating it as though it would magically come true. You know, kinda like the myth that the founding fathers didn’t have any Christian values.

    2. avatar Aharon says:

      Recently, I read about a high school that canceled its traditional father-daughter dance night. A single mother with a daughter complained that the dance ‘discriminates’ against her daughter since she cannot attend. Some woman on the school board suggested that now schools can have a family night instead.

      Step by step, progressive ideology seeks to melt and re-mold people with traditional values and preferences. I told my orthodox Jewish sister that it is only a matter of time until big government intrudes into private religious schools demanding they teach the young students more politically-correct ideology and values.

      1. avatar matt says:

        So did those single moms get knocked up by a sperm donor/artifical insemination, or do they just not want to give up custody of their kid for a night?

        1. avatar Interiorattack says:

          Or Dad Died. But seriously don’t put too much effort into your responses I wouldn’t want to miss a laugh.

      2. avatar Chris says:

        That’s not progressive politics, that’s just plain stupid. Nobody looked for a good solution, so they just shut it all down. So stupid.

        1. avatar Aharon says:

          I guess that in this case I have unfairly associated progressive political values with political correctness and automatically siding with alternative family lifestyles to the traditional nuclear family.

        2. avatar Will says:

          The ACLU was involved in getting the dance canceled as well. All because Mom was offended and it purportedly broke “gender discrimination law.”

          The CNN version is much shorter.

        3. avatar Aharon says:


          One can imagine how many friends the girl lost and enemies made after what her mother did. Things must have been made really uncomfortable for her yet it is also possible that the girl is so self-absorbed like her mother that she could care less.

  4. avatar Paul says:

    I can’t condon gun buy backs. As has already been pointed out, it is a waste of money, time, and potential evidence. Having lived in a “liberal” state, it does not surprise me, that this is still a “Way to rid society” of unwanted guns.

    To bad there isn’t a buy back program, where we could rid ourselves of liberals. Imagine being able to turn in a lib, and get $50 or even $100 per. Unfortunately, we would be limited as to how many we could turn in. But if every one did it, we could pay off the national debt.

  5. avatar jwm says:

    This is a win win for the inmates only. They can show judges and juries and parole boards that they’re deserving of lighter sentances or early release because of their civic duty performed even while locked up.

    And once they’re back on the streets they’ll know that fewer of their potential victems will be armed thanks to their gun buyback program. Some of the inmates may even have people on the outside holding evidence against them that can now be safely disposed of courtesy of the cops.

    Win Win Win for the badguys.

  6. avatar Average_Casey says:

    Not to be a conspiracy theorist but everyone who knows about gun buyback programs knows they destroy the guns. What if this is a program designed by convicts to aid criminals in destruction of evidence?

  7. avatar PANTERA VAZQUEZ says:

    In a rational world we would see that we are not removing potential danger from the streets at these buybacks, the average firearm surrendered is one that is either nonfunctional or one that is in the environment of a person not partial to guns. These guns are not the ones that are the issue. The guns on the streets are the problem, however these “no questions asked” buybacks just create another situation as opposed to its original intent. What it does is provide criminals with a way to dispose of evidence which would implicate them in crimes. This criminal will just go out and acquire another weapon, career continues. So while it may be a feel good gimmick for the politicians and police brass, on the streets, the math remains the same.

  8. avatar Aharon says:

    It might be true or a false promise ie a lie that they won’t check the guns once they get them back to the station. It doesn’t really matter considering the historical stats from the buybacks. What does matter is the re-direction of manpower from the streets and the taxpayer money wasted on the cops involved in the buybacks. I think the inmate’s money and church matchings could have been better used in some after school program for kids.

  9. avatar DrewN says:

    Do they pay more than say, a Glock 19 is worth on the streets? It’s a stupid idea to begin with, but it’s even stupider if they aren’t paying market rates.

  10. avatar إبليس says:

    Prisoners and police working in unison to disarm civilians. Ah, let freedom ring!

  11. avatar mdc says:

    That’s typical city Chief outlook.Idiots.

  12. avatar Ralph says:

    Is it possible that this inmate-sponsored gun buyback is yet another shameless parole hustle?

    Say it ain’t so.

  13. avatar Greg Camp says:

    If the inmates raised the money for this, they clearly have too much money on their hands and not enough rocks to break up.

  14. avatar Joe says:

    At least the Chief has the guts to say what no one wants to hear. Too often we continue to do what doesn’t work rather than face up to the failure. Prisoners can easily donate to victim relief funds, but gun buy backs generate more buzz. Maybe it’s an elaborate scheme to get their pals on the outside some of those matching funds for turning in junk while getting themselves points with the parole board. I hate to think we’re rewarding criminals with cash to turn in junk and not doing a thing to curb violence.

  15. avatar IdahoPete says:

    “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.”

    AWWWWW, that is SO special. I feel like I have just hugged a fuzzy warm teddy bear! I feel SOOOOO good now, I just want to go outside and puke.

    And since my handguns would only be “used for violence” against criminals and tyrants, does that make this Chiefie a supporter of criminals and tyrants?

    And what is with the “4-star General” look on Chiefs of local Police collars? Why not 10 or 15, if you really want to impress the troops?

  16. avatar elnonio says:

    The destruction of evidence argument is interesting, but I’m not sure it has been wargamed all the way through.

    Allow me to start.

    Criminals don’t drop a business card with ther serial number of the weapon used to commit the crime at the scene. Once the weapon is off the scene, you can only link it up to the crime via ballistic testing. Even if “questions were asked” at the buy back, you wouldn’t necessarily have a clue a weapon is evidence of any crime unless one of two things:
    a, you could match a bullet to the weapon
    b, the weapon was reported stolen

    Since I just *know* y’all are saying all these firearms should be tested (imagine the expense!) then you must think that the second option is the key.

    Even if the weapon was reported stolen (and that’s a big IF) it doesn’t follow that the person turning it in has any knoweldge of a crime. That person is either a bona fide purchaser without knowledge, or a conspirator that would argue the same thing. Seeing how most states do not require background checks, working through an FFL, or tracing of firearms for private party sales (which incidentally you can’t do, since NCIC stolen firearm registry is not open to the public), all the cops would get it: I bought it from an acquaintance and I know nothing. I can see how it’s much more time effective to not ask questions.

  17. avatar Mr. Carpenter says:

    I live in rochester NY. born and raised just outside of the city. The whole place is a joke. They are out of ideas and no one is smart enough to come up with new ones…The police department is helpless and the “leaders” are even more. Its a poverty stricken city that has lost its power companies that built it such as Kodak and Xerox all in the last 10 years. Its a hell hole and I wouldnt suggets anyone to move there. I quit my job in the city because i was sick of driving through on a Tuesday afternoon and seeing EVERYONE sitting on their porches and walking the streets. Wheres the jobs? and why aren’t we working rochester???? Forget the waste of time buyback jokes and put the stress on creating some jobs, or making people work!

    1. avatar jwm says:

      You quit your job because you were tired of seeing jobless people on your way to your job? I think I’m gonna go have a lie down now.

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