Gun Turn-In Organizer: Illegal Guns Only Please

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Gun “buybacks” are one of the most ineffective ways to reduce crime, but they’re a favorite tool of anti-gun politicians and elected officials who want to show that they’re doing “something” about the issue. The efficacy of a gun turn-in program matters less to these folks than the opportunity to get a positive headline or two, which is why, despite decades of research showing that compensated confiscation events don’t reduce crime, suicides, or accidents involving firearms, we still see these types of events on a regular basis.

In eastern Ohio, Stark County prosecutor Kyle Stone is putting together a turn-in program for later this month, but he’s letting it be known that he doesn’t want anyone’s legally possessed guns.

He says they are targeting illegal and stolen guns on the street, not legal gun owners.

Stone stresses that no taxpayer funding is being used, it’s all based on donations.

Here are some instructions from the prosecutor’s office:

Guns are to be unloaded and transported in the trunk of the vehicle.

Everyone is to stay in their vehicle and a volunteer will come out and exchange their weapon for a gift card.

Gift cards will be available on a first come, first served basis.

Open to Stark County residents only.

Of course, if there are no questions asked, then it’s going to be impossible to know whether the guns that are turned in are legally owned or not, but my guess is that the Stark County “buyback” will be like most others; the vast majority of firearms that are turned in are what are considered “garbage guns”; old and broken revolves, bolt-action rifles, and maybe a rusty shotgun or two.

Criminals aren’t going to turn in a black market gun for $100 when they could get far more for the gun by selling it on the street, so I just don’t see this effort as leading to anything productive, though I’m glad to see that no taxpayer dollars are being wasted on this idea.

The Stark County prosecutor says he does have some other plans to tackle violent crime, including “discounted CCW classes, an expungement clinic, and for his part, seeking the maximum sentence for gun-related crimes of violence.”

With all due respect to Kyle Stone, I think both he and the county would be much better off focusing on things like discounted CCW classes and going after violent crimes in which firearms were used. In fact, I’m curious about Stone’s assertion that he’s going to go hard when it comes to prosecuting violent crimes. When he says that he’s going to “seek the maximum sentence,” does that mean that his office won’t be using plea bargains in cases involving violent suspects? Or is it more a matter of seeking the maximum sentence, but settling for far less?

I do like the idea of discounted CCW classes, though. Maybe instead of holding another compensated confiscation effort, Stone could ask the private sector for donations to host free classes for those who want to obtain a concealed carry license. It would be a far more productive use of both time and money than offering up a $100 gift card to anyone turning in a gun in the hopes that criminals will hand over their illicitly obtained firearms.