Arlington County, VA Considering Disproven Idea to Address Crime

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Gun buybacks show up in the news pretty regularly, particularly if you're looking at gun-related news as much as Cam and I do.

They're incredibly popular in many communities. The idea is simple. Someone brings a gun they don't want and they get money or a gift card in exchange. The gun is then destroyed, thus making it unavailable for criminal activity.


Since it's a voluntary action, it's not something anyone is putting a lot of effort into stopping, but there's something many people don't really understand. They don't work.

Despite that--and even someone like The Atlantic admitting it--it seems Arlington County is considering having one just the same.

The Arlington County Board is considering whether to authorize county-run firearm buyback events.

Buybacks would provide residents with cash, gift cards, vouchers or other payment in exchange for guns, according to a proposed ordinance. The voluntary events would be open to residents of Arlington and Falls Church.

The Arlington County Board on Saturday authorized a request to advertise the potential amendment to the county code. The item is scheduled to return to the Board for discussion on March 16.

“The purpose of this ordinance is to create a safer community and prevent firearm violence by creating a mechanism by which citizens can surrender unwanted or unneeded firearms,” the ordinance says.

This is, of course, how it's always billed. Yet, as we noted, there's not just no evidence it works, there's ample evidence that it doesn't.

And considering how much pressure there is on researchers to support the overall anti-gun narrative, the fact that there is so much evidence buybacks don't work is really, really telling.


Now, if a private entity is hold a buyback, it's not the end of the world. After all, it's their money. They can waste it if they so desire.

However, at least some of this is set up to be taxpayer-funded, with around 15 police officers for each event at $75 per hour, according to the report. The ordinance would allow the city manager to establish a program to collaborate with third parties, but that last part isn't required.

So yeah, taxpayer-funded.

Who helped them cook up this brain-dead abortion of an idea, anyway?

The ordinance notes that the advocacy group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America collaborated with county officials on this initiative. The group did not respond to a request for comment.

Well, that explains it, then.

The report goes on to argue that buybacks are "well established" throughout the nation, but never mentioned that numerous studies have shown they simply don't work.

Moms Demand Action likely knows they don't work, either, but they still push it because they don't want those people selling their guns instead.

See, the guns that typically show up at a buyback--and yes, the name is a misnomer because no one is really buying anything back--aren't exactly the ones criminals want. Most of them are old rifles and shotguns that aren't great for what criminals want firearms for. It's the kind of thing no one would trip over themselves to steal.


But they might be the kinds of things a collector might be interested in.

For Moms Demand Action, it's about keeping people from having any guns at all if they can. They don't want to admit that buybacks don't work, so they just ignore it.

And it's not like the media in most places really has any interest in verifying these things have any benefit, either.

My hope is that someone raises this point and they put a stop to this nonsense. There are better uses for taxpayer money than this fiasco.

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