Activist Blasts Oahu Gun Buyback Goals

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, FIle

In and of itself, I don’t have a massive issue with gun buybacks. They’re stupid and they don’t work, but if people want to get rid of their guns and someone wants to facilitate that, I’m not going to lose a lot of sleep over that fact.


But I do have issues with some of the things surrounding buybacks. In particular, the claims that these make our community safer or the “no questions asked” policy that could facilitate criminals disposing of crime guns at these events.

Oahu in Hawaii recently held such an event and one activist has harsh words about it and what would really work.

“The people I spoke to are happy we are offering them an avenue to safely dispose their unwanted firearms,” said Jordan Lowe, director of Hawaii Department of Law Enforcement.

However, Hawaii Firearm Coalition director Andrew Namiki Roberts said most of the guns people turned in were for hunting or self-defense and not the type criminals would use.

“These gun buyback events do not take criminals’ guns off the streets, just [older people] turning in their old guns. That might prevent accidents at home but there is no evidence backing that up,” said Roberts.

Roberts adds throwing away or turning in your guns does not teach [kids] about gun violence. He said gun violence prevention starts in classrooms.

Hawaii Firearm Coalition did attend the gun buy back event. They estimate the value of all the guns turned in at somewhere around $90,000.

“I saw some rifles that were from the World War II era and I know for a fact they would’ve sold for more than $1,000 each. Someone turned in a glock handgun that could be sold for at least $500 used. These people are turning them in because they’re led to believe this somehow helps the community,” said Roberts.


And, of course, we know they don’t. There’s been a great deal of research into whether or not buybacks work and the answer is that they don’t.

Why would they? As Roberts notes, they’re just an outlet for some people to get rid of unwanted guns, but they’re not exactly buying back semi-auto pistols with full-auto switches, now are they?

Sure, there are some–there are always going to be some–but many are older firearms that aren’t of any interest to bad guys. I mean, when was the last time you saw someone do a drive-by with a Garand? It just doesn’t happen.

Yet even the Glock Roberts mentioned–one that is of interest to criminals–wasn’t likely to end up in the hands of a bad guy. This was someone’s gun. The odds of that particular gun being stolen were always going to be pretty low.

Moreover, had they sold it to a gun store, they’d have gotten more for it and someone would have bought it and had to undergo a background check to do so, meaning it wouldn’t have ended up in criminal hands there, either.

Buybacks are predicated on the myth that guns in circulation cause crime. That’s never been the case and while it sounds like it makes sense, the truth is that only guns in criminals can be used for so-called gun crime in the first place. Your gun isn’t in criminal hands, so going to a buyback and getting rid of it is nothing but a lie meant to make people feel better.


It’s the wrong way to go about reducing violent crime and always has been.

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