Wilkinsburg Buyback Nets Whopping 40 Guns

Last week, I wrote about a gun buyback in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. This is the same area that is so afraid of COVID-19 that they can’t bother to process people’s concealed carry permits but could manage to find it in their heart to hold a gun buyback.

Well, hey, at least they took a pile of guns off the streets, right?

Right?

OK, maybe not.

The socially distanced line around the Wilkinsburg Borough Building was at its longest just before 10 a.m. Saturday, the official start of an annual exchange where unwanted firearms are swapped for Giant Eagle gift cards.

Detective Doug YuHouse came outside with an orange milk crate and began filling it with guns. The transactions were swift, with some lasting less than a minute if no one stopped to chat. In the first 20 minutes, he’d already collected that many weapons, some never used, many discovered by relatives while sorting through belongings of loved ones.

But the early rush proved to be the only one. Overall, the Wilkinsburg Police Department collected 40 weapons Saturday — 36 handguns, 3 shotguns and a rifle.

“A very down year,” Detective YuHouse lamented.

In 2019, the police department took in 120 guns, which he described as an average haul. One year, it was as high as 160.

You mean that in a year when people are buying up every firearm they can find, some have decided not to part with a gun they already have for chump change?

After all, here’s what was on the table for those who brought guns to the buyback:

The Wilkinsburg police rate was a $50 Giant Eagle gift card for a pistol and a $25 gift card for a long gun. After years of doing this, Chief Coleman knows it’s not really about the money. Many who come to drop off weapons simply don’t want them in their homes.

“I was going through my mom’s house and these were in the garage,” said William Roman, unloading several weapons. He got spooked about having them around after two kids tried unsuccessfully to break into his mother’s home in Munhall.

And, honestly, that’s a fair concern. However, Roman would have done better taking them to a gun store and putting them on consignment. Not only would he have gotten more money, but the dealer would still have performed a NICS background check. No selling to bad guys that way, if that’s something one is concerned about.

Look, I find buybacks are only good for mockery in the grand scheme of things. They don’t really accomplish anything other than allow folks to pat themselves on the back about all the good they’re doing without them having to actually do any good. It doesn’t take guns from criminals with the exception of those looking to dump guns anyway.

Plus, let’s face it, 40 total firearms aren’t going to make a damn bit of difference in this world, especially since more are being made all the time.

But someone gets to flex and pretend they’re making a difference, which is all this is ever about.

Jul 31, 2021 8:30 AM ET