Gun buyback proponents still live in fantasy world

Gun buyback proponents still live in fantasy world
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

We all know the term “buyback” is an inaccurate term for the idea of buying guns from people, no questions asked, for a small amount of money or a gift card. It implies that the government or whatever entity running the event somehow owned the guns in the first place.

Regardless, we all know what the term refers to.

So do proponents of such events, obviously.

However, what they don’t seem to know is just how useless buybacks actually are. They continue to sing their praises.

Petersburg Mayor Sam Parham called the event an “overwhelming success.”

“Everyone has their doubts as to whether people will turn guns in,” Parham said. “We want to bury guns and not people. We don’t want to let these guns that’s laying around fall into the wrong hands.”

Those include “criminals looking for a gun” or children, who might mistake the firearm for a toy, Parham said.

“It’s a constitutional right to bear arms, and we want people to understand we in no way are trying to violate their constitutional rights,” Petersburg Police Chief Travis Christian said.

That said, the chief notes every firearm taken off the streets represents one less potential threat.

“This is a safe way to bring your gun forward, receive a gift card of value, and let us get a gun off the street that could potentially do some harm to a family or loved one or kid,” he said.

I don’t know whether the folks in Petersburg know the facts and are lying or if they’ve just bought into the lies.

See, we know for a fact that buybacks don’t actually work. Sure, they’re handy ways for people to unload unwanted guns without selling them to a gun store or pawn shop or whatever. What they aren’t, though, is a viable way to make communities safer.

At least this one was funded by a couple of churches, so it doesn’t look like taxpayer money went into this.

Yet city leaders all over the nation tout these buybacks as some kind of solution. At least some of them do know that studies have shown that buybacks don’t lead to a reduction in crime. They still push the narrative because it’s about signaling their virtue, not actually making anyone safer.

And that’s where I have a problem.

The churches involved put up $250,000. That’s a lot of money for a program. Now imagine if that $250,000 had gone toward a program that provides counseling to the victims of violent crime so as to upset the cycle of violence that tends to continue on as victims or their friends and family seek revenge for the previous shooting.

That might well do more good in the long term than any buyback ever could.

Where there’s a difference is that no one is pushing this idea. Instead, they push the myth that the buyback works, in spite of pretty much every study that looked into it saying otherwise. The only one that claimed they worked said they worked in conjunction with other efforts, only it didn’t consider that it was the other efforts that worked and not the buyback.

Officials from around the nation have latched on to the idea that buybacks work.

What’s more, when they don’t work, they just figure that they didn’t do enough of them. They try the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result–the very definition of insanity.

And it’s infuriating, not because this somehow infringes on our rights so much as the fact that it plays into the fallacy that guns are the problem. Yet the very failure of these buybacks actually proves the opposite. Too bad no one wants to talk about that.