Even though there’s absolutely no evidence that compensated confiscation events reduce violent crime, suicide, or accidents involving firearms, New York Attorney General Letitia James is hosting a so-called buyback this weekend in Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood.
The cash and prizes offered to those handing over a gun no questions asked are pretty substantial; gift cards worth up to $25o as well as a new iPad.
Event organizers say Brownsville was chosen for the Saturday swap because it’s been hit hard by the spike in gun violence.
“We get these guns off the streets, these guns can’t be used in crime. They can’t be used in suicides. We can’t have the tragedies that we see with children finding guns in their homes,” Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said.
Forty-eight guns were collected Saturday. When asked if that was a disappointing total, State Attorney General Letitia James said all it takes is one.
“One gun that can result in carnage, one gun that can result in the death of multiple individuals, so I’m really not focused on the number,” she said.
Something tells me if 480 guns were turned in, James would be touting that figure. The anti-gun AG might claim that getting even one gun “off the streets” can make a difference, but as former NYPD officer Rob O’Donnell noted on Twitter, James’ “buyback” could actually provide criminals with enough cash to go out and get another gun.
So technically one could make about $600 profit per rifle ($50 gift card + $550 IPad). This simply highlights the nearsightedness of Government programs such as these, asking for fraud and abuse but doing very little to reduce crime. https://t.co/eNBW3Lf4UM pic.twitter.com/4kJFs5pyaM
— Rob O’Donnell (@odonnell_r) January 29, 2021
Even those turning in “junk guns” that aren’t in working condition could receive enough money and goods to be able to afford a firearm in working condition, though they’d have to acquire it on the black market.
That probably doesn’t matter much to James either. The most beneficial aspect of her compensated confiscation effort is public relations, not public safety, and the AG has received glowing praise from local media for hosting the event. From the Brooklyn Eagle:
“Gun violence is an ongoing threat to our communities,” said State Senator Zellnor Myrie. “We need to bring multi-faceted solutions to this problem — stronger legislation, support for community-based violence interruption groups on the front lines, and gun buyback events like this one. I’m proud to support this confidential buyback event in Brownsville and thank Attorney General Letitia James and her staff, along with my other partners in government for their continued efforts to get guns off our streets.”
“In 2020, NYC had a spike in gun violence which had a profound effect on our community in important measure to keep our children, families, and friends safe,” said Assemblymember Latrice Walker. “Thank you to Attorney General James, who has created a safe space for Brownsville and surrounding communities to turn in guns with no questions asked. Let’s all take advantage of this program and make our streets safer.”
“Getting guns off of the street is a multi-pronged approach,” said Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel. “It’s imperative that we use every tool at our disposal to keep families and residents safe. The Southeastern part of my district has not had a shooting since November 4. The last gun buyback in Brooklyn recovered 33 guns. These are excellent statistics and we should move aggressively to keep up the momentum. Attorney General James’ track-record of gun buyback events across the state is something to be replicated right here in Brooklyn, and I thank her for her collaboration on this important event.”
That reads more like a press release than an actual news story. If there was any real reporting on James’ so-called buyback, it would have to at least mention the fact that criminal justice experts say there’s no real benefit to these events other than allowing politicians like the ones quoted above to claim they’re “doing something,” instead of doing something that works.