New Mexico 'Buyback' Includes Wrongheaded Thinking

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

New Mexico was an unlikely place to become the epicenter of the gun control debate in 2023. Here in 2024, though, it seems Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is determined to keep it at the center of controversy.


After trying to ban all lawful carry of firearms last year, even while acknowledging that she didn’t expect criminals to obey her executive order, Lujan Grisham has been trying to fumble around for something she could get away with.

That includes a gun buyback.

At Expo New Mexico, hundreds came out to give back guns they have no need for. Those waiting in line say they can see the good it can do.

“Well, I think this event is good to help clean up some of the weapons we have. We have too many weapons out here in the public,” Harold Roberston said.

He’s speaking on the amount of guns in Albuquerque and believes it’s a growing concern. New Mexico State Police hosted its first gun buyback event of the year and offered a little something for people participating Saturday.

By 9 a.m. Saturday in Albuquerque, 114 different guns had been turned in. Guns were also collected in Las Cruces, Farmington, and Espanola. NMSP reports at least five guns that were turned in have been listed as stolen.

Wilson said the mission is to “reduce violent crime, accidental deaths, suicides.”

Lujan Grisham posted excitedly about the turnout on X, formerly Twitter.


Except that there are a number of studies showing absolutely no benefit to so-called buybacks. The only study I’m aware of that even suggests there might be a benefit looked at buybacks in conjunction with other programs, and failed to account for whether those other programs were what created any potential benefit.

Now, let’s talk a bit about those 10 guns turned in that turned out to be stolen.

Despite numerous comments on X asking if those guns would be returned to their lawful owners, Lujan Grisham hasn’t answered.

More than that, though, the same governor who attempted to unilaterally ban all lawful carry of firearms while knowing it would do nothing to stop bad guys is now bragging about “only” helping 10 criminals dispose of evidence.

Remember that “buybacks” are no questions asked. They have no record of who turned those guns in, which means we have no way of linking them with anyone. If it turns out one of those stolen guns was used in a homicide, there’s no way to use that to prosecute the gunman.


Plus, since money was exchanged for these stolen guns, that’s technically a crime.

Look, I get that cities like Albuquerque have a problem with violent crime. I respect the position officials in New Mexico are actually in right now. They have to do something or, at a minimum, be seen trying to do something.

But folks, this ain’t it.

Besides the fact that “buyback” is a misnomer, these things really just don’t work. The money spent buying guns–most of which aren’t likely to ever be used in a crime, a suicide, or anything else–could have been directed toward programs that might actually be useful to prevent violent crime.

Unfortunately, no one in New Mexico can think that far ahead, apparently.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member