A buyback program in San Francisco is going a little off the beaten path.
You see, most buyback programs want to make sure you can’t use what they’re giving you to buy more guns, so they tend to give you gift cards. The wisdom of this is debatable, but I see where their thinking is. They usually use gift cards from places within the community and are often for places like grocery stores or big box retailers. Apparently, they think everyone who attends a buyback needs the money to eat or something.
The San Francisco program goes in a very different direction. They’re offering cold, hard cash.
To reduce the chance of more horrors, United Playaz — in partnership with the city and San Francisco Police Department — is hosting a gun buyback on Saturday. Past United Playaz events have taken hundreds of guns, rifles, and assault weapons of the streets, says United Playaz founder Rudy Corpuz.
Guns with serial numbers registered as missing or tied to crimes are set aside by police while metal from the remaining guns is melted down. The wooden parts are remade into jewelry by people currently incarcerated, Corpuz says.
United Playaz is holding the gun buyback on Saturday, Dec. 16 from 8 a.m. to noon at 1038 Howard St. Handguns will go for $100 and assault weapons for $200 — all cash and no questions asked.
The cash is an interesting touch. While it’s still just a fraction of the worth of most of the firearms they’re talking about–particularly for the so-called “assault weapons”–, it’s also cash. That may well pull in more people than a gift card to the local grocery store.
However, there’s often some legitimate criticism of all gun buyback programs that needs to be restated.
For one, this seems like a hell of a way to pawn stolen firearms. You steal some guns, take them to this buyback, get some cash, then walk away. Even if the gun is returned to the owner, they don’t care. They’ve cashed in already, why would they mind. In fact, now they know where they can steal the same gun again, maybe for the next buyback.
I get the sentiment, but criminals who are likely to actually use a firearm isn’t going to take advantage of a buyback. That would be like a carpenter selling his hammer for a few dollars. For a criminal, the gun is the tool of his trade, so to speak. They’re not likely to unload it for some short-term gain when they know they can top that long term. Frankly, it’s not even that long of a term. A couple of robberies could probably net them the $100 they’d get for their handgun, after all.
It’s funny, though. They pay more for assault weapons, but according to the Department of Justice, most gun crime is committed with handguns.
Why, it’s almost like this is more of a dog and pony show than a real effort to reduce violence.