Gun “buybacks” are popular among anti-gun politicians because it’s an easy way to get some free press. Normally when a compensated confiscation event takes place, the local media will run a puff piece about the number of guns collected featuring a quote from the politician du jour proclaiming that “every gun taken off the street is a life saved” or some nonsense like that.
New York Attorney General Letitia James is a big fan of the “buyback”, and her office regularly hosts events around the state. At a recent effort in New Rochelle the AG channeled her inner Obama, who once proclaimed that it’s easier for kids to buy a Glock than get a book.
James said Friday: “What’s so tragic is that in some parts of New York state, you can find a gun more easily than you can find an apple.”
Actually, I suppose James’ bizarre claim is closer to this statement by Barack Obama in March of 2015:
“There are neighborhoods where it’s easier for you to buy a handgun and clips than it is for you to buy a fresh vegetable.”
When Obama said that six years ago, the Washington Post gave him three Pinocchios for his bad take. I wonder if they’ll do the same for Letitia James, or if they’ll just let this one slide. Personally, I had no idea there was such an apple shortage in New York. You think maybe instead of a gun “buyback” the Attorney General should be working on an apple giveaway?
In all serious though, doesn’t James’ comment indicate that New York’s gun control laws aren’t doing much to control guns? I mean, if it’s easier to find a gun than an apple in some parts of the state (I’d love to know which parts James was referring to, by the way), and yet New York has universal background checks, a ban on “assault weapons” and “large capacity” magazines, a “may issue” carry law, and a host of other restrictions on the Second Amendment rights of residents, but according to the Attorney General it’s still easier to find a gun than a Granny Smith.
While the local paper didn’t challenge the veracity of James’ statement, it did do something that’s pretty rare when it comes to coverage of gun “buybacks”; pointing out that there’s no evidence these programs reduce crime.
At Friday’s event, the attorney general said the buybacks are more than just about education: “It’s about prevention,” James said, “and it’s about recovering guns off the streets of New York.”
Research on buyback effectiveness shows they aren’t effective in reducing gun violence.
A working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research this summer found that in the year following gun buyback events, firearm-related crimes decreased less than 1.3%.
The study also concluded there was no evidence that buybacks reduce suicides or homicides involving firearms.
The Left loves to proclaim that we should “follow the Science”, expect when the science shows us that their gun control efforts are worthless at preventing violent crime. In that case I guess we’re just supposed to follow the lead of the anti-gun politicians and feel good that they’re “doing something,” even if it doesn’t do anything at all to make us safer.
The New Rochelle “buyback” resulted in 57 guns being turned over in exchange for gift cards and iPads. According to the research, however, it won’t result in fewer violent crimes, suicides, or accidents involving firearms. Still, as long as Tish James gets her headlines, I’m sure she’ll see this event as a stunning success, even if her comments demonstrate the state’s gun laws are an abysmal failure.