Let’s address reality first.
Gun buybacks are a typically offered by souls who have the best of intentions, hoping to “get guns off the streets,” and we respect their goal of lowering crime in their communities.
The sad reality is that the overwhelming majority of firearms brought to a buyback are neglected sporting arms and rusted-shut pistols, the sort of thing generally found when sorting through grandpa’s damp basement. Most of the guns turned in are scrap wood and metal, incapable of harm unless you happen to drop it on your toe. Many if not most are inherited in some form or fashion, and would never be used in crime. Because of these realities, buybacks are mainly “feel-good” programs that enable those who host them to feel good about themselves as they overpay for scrap metal and rotted-out wood. in
The downside of such programs is that individuals sometimes dispose of firearms of real functional, artistic, or historical value, like the rare German StG44 assault rifles (yes the rare proper use of the term assault rifle) collected in California recently and in Connecticut last year by individuals who had no idea of the collector value of the rifles they turned in.
Dueling buybacks in Dallas recently offered an opportunity for citizens to sell junkers to a church-sponsored group, or get a better price from a gun rights group trying to find firearms useful for a women’s self defense program.
The goal was to get at least one.
But organizers of a recent gun buyback in Dallas say they bought more than a dozen guns from people who wanted them out of their homes.
“Now there’s 15 less chances there’s a tragedy, and we’re glad for that,” said the Rev. Bruce Buchanan, an associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Dallas, which has The Stewpot ministry.
The church’s buyback coincided with the first anniversary of the massacre in Newtown, Conn. — which left 20 children and six educators dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School — and with another gun buyback in Dallas.
As the church worked to buy guns so they could be destroyed, members of the Come and Take It Texas gun-rights group tried to buy firearms at the same site — so they could be put back into circulation.
The group said it bought four or five guns in its effort to supply firearms to the Safe Mother program, geared toward training women in need to use handguns for self-defense.
“We didn’t want those guns to be destroyed,” said Murdock Pizgatti, founder and president of Come and Take It Texas. “An armed society is a polite society.”
The church took in 15 junkers, which made them feel better about “doing something,” while Come and Take It Texas picked up five functioning rifles they will either use for training or put back on the legal market. Disappointingly, they weren’t able to buy any functioning handguns for the Safe Mother program, as there were none to be had.
Criminals never turn in their tools.