Philadelphia has been a rough place for a long, long time. A guy I knew in the Navy joked that the PFT we had to take should be simplified simply by making Navy personnel go from one side of the city to the other on payday while in dress uniform using only public transportation. Anyone who survived passed.
It was a joke, but it was also a testament to how dangerous the City of Brotherly Love was, and this was in the early 90s.
So yeah, the history has been there for a while.
Needless to say, city leaders would like to change that. To that end, they kicked off a multi-faceted approach to gun violence, but I wanted to focus on one particular aspect of it. In particular, how they’re asking parents to search their kids’ rooms for guns.
After more young people have been killed or injured by guns in 2019, City Council, the police commissioner and others are urging parents to search their children’s rooms for weapons. And if they find anything, four churches will be open for gun turn-in programs the next two Saturdays.
It’s a new twist on an old tactic to get guns off of Philadelphia streets.
“We’re calling for parents to do room checks, of your house and if there are any guns you find you can turn those guns into police no questions asked,” said Bilal Qayyum of the Father’s Day Rally Committee.
Acting Police Commissioner Christine Coulter says any gun turned in is a killing machine stopped.
“If we get one turn-in from a gun buyback, odds are that gun will never be used in violence,” she said. She says removing weapons will prevent young people from settling disputes with a gun.
Now, I’m pretty critical of buybacks in general. Frankly, as I noted on the topic earlier this week, they don’t work.
However, I’m going to support this effort.
I don’t think the buyback, in and of itself, will accomplish anything. But that’s not the key factor here. No, the key factor is the call for parents to step up and make sure their kids aren’t keeping dangerous weapons in their rooms.
When I was a kid, I was horrified anytime my parents would decide to take a look in my room. It felt like an invasion of privacy. Plus, my mother never failed to find certain magazines I wasn’t exactly supposed to have.
Yet those magazines weren’t the kind that went into a firearm.
Still, a lot of kids in Philadelphia do have those kinds of guns. The truth is, all the gun laws in the world are failing to stop kids from getting guns. They’re getting them. Then they’re taking those guns home.
By asking parents to step in and search their kids’ rooms, they’re asking them to be more proactive in making sure their children aren’t involved in stuff they shouldn’t be. And let’s be honest, if they have a gun, they’re probably involved in stuff they shouldn’t be.
The role of the buyback is to give the parents a way to dispose of the guns so the child won’t get their hands back on it that doesn’t result in their boy (or girl) ending up in jail. Few parents would cooperate if that was the result, so a “no questions asked” buyback gives them that out.
Now, do I think this will work? Maybe, maybe not. If it does, though, it won’t be the buyback that helps. It’ll be the parents.