Columnist Credits Gun 'Buyback' For Drop In Pennsylvania Crime

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

I think it's important to look at what works with regard to reducing violent crime and what doesn't.

There aren't any good studies showing that gun control works to reduce violent crime, after all, so it makes sense to look for what will. That's especially true if you value people's rights to any degree. Once you infringe on one right, it's easier to infringe on others, so even if you're not a fan of guns, you should probably be concerned about gun control.


That's especially true if something other than gun control will do the job--after all, we know gun control doesn't get it done.

In Pennsylvania, we've seen a reduction in violent crime. That's good news, especially since the legislature hasn't actually passed anti-gun laws, much to the consternation of many members of the House.

Unfortunately, this article billed as a look at what works is really anything but.

The first four months of 2024 saw a 23% decrease in Pennsylvania gun homicides compared to last year, according to the Center for American Progress. Pennsylvania saw the second-largest decline in the country last year.

Philadelphia experienced the largest gun violence decline of major American cities in the same period.

State officials and community members gathered at a roundtable recently hosted by Lt. Gov. Austin Davis celebrating the wins and considering future gun violence prevention strategies.

“As I travel around the state, I think some people think that this is just a Harrisburg issue or a Philadelphia issue or a Pittsburgh issue,” Davis said. “I want to be clear that this is a Pennsylvania issue.”

Success stories in fight against gun violence

The group discussed the successes contributing to the decrease in gun violence rates. In 2022, Philadelphia formed the 100 Shooting Review Committee to analyze gun violence in the city and make recommendations for reform.

Community-based changes, like free electrical and plumbing repairs for low-income homeowners, have been credited with decreasing crime rates. Higher poverty levels and economic stress are correlated with higher rates of firearm homicides and suicides, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


So far, so good.

While correlation isn't causation, the fact is that they're right about economic stress contributing to a lot of violent crime. Something that addresses immediate and pressing needs for poorer families is probably something that can be considered in various cities around the nation as a tool for reducing their own violent crime.

It's from here, though, that we go off the rails.

First, a bit about what supposedly works.

Harrisburg Police hosted a gun buy-back event last month, which allowed residents to exchange guns for $100 gift cards without investigation. The police collected more than 100 guns and continued to receive firearms even after the promise of a gift card had passed.

“Anybody that wants to come down to turn their gun in, you know, the amnesty program is still going,” Harrisburg Police Commissioner Thomas Carter said.

Well...that's stupid.

Numerous studies show gun buybacks do not work to reduce violent crime. They only take a small fraction of the guns off the streets and they have never been found to prevent bad guys from getting guns. Yes, it might help someone get rid of a gun easily without it ending up back on the streets, but it's not having any impact in violent crime rates and never has.

How in the hell did a committee decide that it had an impact when countless qualified researchers studying the problem have found the exact opposite?

From there, though, things go downhill. Four paragraphs addressing what supposedly works, and then the rest of the rather lengthy article--21 paragraphs, if you're keeping score at home--goes on about the supposed need for gun control laws to be passed by the legislature.


I'm sorry, but it's kind of hard to take this remotely seriously. You've got one program that might create an impact, one that has been pretty well shown to have no impact at all, and then the rest is talking about the need for the kinds of laws that haven't been shown to do absolutely anything. It's impossible to take anything like this seriously, especially from the supposed unbiased media.

The bias might as well be painted across the headline.

This is nothing but an in-kind contribution to the Democrats in Pennsylvania, providing them with a campaign platform from which they can push their anti-gun agenda, despite the evidence that Pennsylvania doesn't really need it.

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