Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has a new plan to cut crime; getting corporations and private donors to pony up a million bucks for two gun “buybacks” to be held later this year. Of course, the biggest problem with that idea is that there’s absolutely no evidence that these compensated confiscation events actually do anything to reduce crime, suicides, or accidents involving firearms, but that’s not stopping Lightfoot from moving ahead with her bad idea.
Chicago has held “buybacks” in the past, of course, and they haven’t played any role in reducing crime either. In fact, ABC-7 in Chicago took a look at the guns that were handed over to Chicago police at one recent compensated confiscation event held in February and reporters were less than impressed by what they saw.
At just one one event, according to records obtained via the Freedom of Information Act and analyzed by the ABC7 I-Team, Chicago police took in 138 firearms and 23 replicas. That’s 30% of the guns CPD received at these events in 2021.
… I-Team analysis found that an increasing percentage of fakes are being turned in at these events. Sixteen percent of the gift cards in 2020 were for replicas. That jumped to 20% in 2021.
“Criminals are the least likely folks who are going to be turning the guns in,” said James Sobol, Associate Professor, SUNY Buffalo State
Records obtained through FOIA show some of the weapons turned in are very old. They include a “flintlock pocket pistol” that was “popular in BRITAIN during the 18th century,” an “early 1900s” Belgian revolver, and several decades-old shotguns and rifles marked as having “heavy rust.” They also turned up a toy gun, made to look like a civil war-era revolver.
Criminal justice professor James Sobol has studied gun turn-in programs across the country. He said his research shows the programs don’t have a significant impact on reducing crime.
“Are these programs more public relations than public safety?” I-Team Report Chuck Goudie asked.
“The gun buyback again, sounds good. Its impact on crime, probably negligible,” Sobol answered.
The only positive thing I can say about Lightfoot’s big idea is that at least tax payers won’t be on the hook for it. Instead, it’ll be woke corporations like Motorola, Wanxiang America, and Blommer Chocolate who’ll be footing the bill in the hopes of generating some positive press for themselves. That’s the real intent behind these events, as far as I’m concerned; public relations, not public safety.
Stilll, what a waste of a million dollars. That money could go towards genuine community violence intervention programs with a track record of success, help fund additional mental health resources, or bolster witness protection services in Chicago or greater Cook County. Instead, that cash will be used to help boost Lori Lightfoot’s abysmal polling numbers ahead of next year’s mayoral elections. As of early March, just 13% of survey respondents approved of Lightfoot’s job performance, and roughly 33% felt like the city was a safe place for them to live.
Numbers like that clearly worry Lightfoot, especially with a number of Democrats already announcing their challenge to her tenure in office. Frankly, she should be worried, but that still doesn’t make her dumb idea for gun “buybacks” any better. In fact, it’ll be pretty easy for her opponents to point out the ineffectiveness of these programs and to tie that back directly to Lightfoot’s own inability to seriously and adequately address the city’s lawlessness.