Police department missing mark in buyback motivation

Police department missing mark in buyback motivation
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

If you hear about a gun buyback, the police are often involved. This has been something law enforcement has backed for quite some time.

The idea makes a certain degree of sense. Buying guns from the community so they’re not available for criminals.

The problem, of course, is…well, there are a lot of problems, to be quite honest.

Perhaps the biggest is that there’s absolutely no relationship between buybacks and a reduction in violent crime. They simply don’t work.

But police in Lexington, Kentucky are doing it anyway. Their reason? It’ll make people feel better.

Lexington’s police department is considering implementing a gun buyback program with the goal of making people feel better and safer.

Police Chief Lawrence Weathers made the remarks Wednesday, speaking at a community forum to address gun violence.

Sharing their solution to the growing gun-violence issue in the city, a community member at the meeting called for a “million-dollar gun buyback program.” It’s an idea that she has pressed leaders to implement for some time.

Research into gun buyback programs shows they don’t successfully reduce crime in cities, Weathers responded. The programs work by allowing cities to directly purchase guns from gun owners, no questions asked, he said.

“The premise behind it is you get guns off the street, well the research shows that the guns that are turned it, aren’t the guns being used on the street.”

Even so, Weathers said they are considering a gun buyback program. After the meeting, LEX 18 asked Weathers why he was considering a program that he says wouldn’t reduce crime.

Weathers explained that there would be other benefits that are harder to measure, such as making people feel safer.

So deluding people is a benefit to the public?

Really?

Weathers knows buybacks don’t work. He knows it and has even articulated it quite well. Yet he’s still considering this simply because it’ll give people a false sense of safety? And here I thought feeding into people’s hallucinations was discouraged by psychologists.

Because that’s really what’s happening here.

This is taxpayer money we’re talking about here, money that people paid with the expectation of getting certain things from the government. I’m pretty sure that what people want from the police isn’t them blowing smoke up people’s posteriors, but actual, honest-to-God safety.

That means using that money to…oh, I don’t know…arrest criminals? Maybe find the source of illegal guns and arrest those providing guns to criminals? Programs to get people out of the criminal lifestyle and onto the straight and narrow, even?

Buybacks aren’t a good use of money because they don’t work. It doesn’t matter if they make people feel safer if they’re not actually safer. The body count will just keep rising.

Further, they perpetuate the idea that the issue is guns in and of themselves, rather than the criminals who prey upon others.

Lying to people isn’t beneficial, even if they find some comfort in that lie, at least for a little while.

It’s even worse when the person considering this knows it to be a lie.