I know I don’t have to tell you this, but gun buyback programs are worthless. For starters, it’s not technically a “buyback” because the government never owned the firearm to begin with. A manufacturer made it, shipped it to a dealer, who then sold it to the purchaser. Nowhere in that chain of custody did the government take possession of the firearm. So, “buyback” is a B.S. term. It never belonged to the government!
Beyond that, the purpose of a buyback is to, as we so often hear, “take guns off the streets.” The logic behind the buyback is that if we offer criminals money for their firearms they’ll voluntarily disarm and turn their hardware over to law enforcement.
It’s such a transparently stupid idea that one wonders how it ever got taken seriously. Proponents of buybacks actually believe that hardened drug dealers and thugs will give up the tools that not only protect their criminal enterprises from rival competitors (gangs, cartels, etc.), but also ensure the safety of themselves, their family and their property — all for a $100 gift certificate or money card. In a way, it’s like asking the lion to give up his claws and teeth for a cheeseburger. On what planet would the lion ever take that deal?
So, buybacks do not “take guns off the street.” No criminal shows up to trade in his piece for the Applebee’s gift card. It just doesn’t happen. What ends up happening, though, is that folks from the community turn up and swap out their worthless, junk guns (broken guns, non-operational guns, etc.) for the handout. You can’t blame them either. It’s getting something in exchange for garbage.
With that in mind, I want you to consider a recent bill introduced by Democratic congressman Donald M. Payne from New Jersey, called the “The Safer Neighborhoods Gun Buyback Act of 2015.”
The premise of the bill is to use $360 million in taxpayer money to allow the U.S. Department of Justice’s Director of Bureau of Justice Assistance (Who knew that agency even existed!) to hand out smart debit cards to state and local governments and gun dealers so that they can be used to purchase unwanted firearms.
“We owe it to the communities we have sworn to protect to pursue every opportunity to reduce gun violence in our neighborhoods,” said congressman Payne, Jr. “Although no one piece of legislation will eliminate all gun violence, this bill will get guns off the streets and keep them out of the hands of people who wish to cause harm. If we can get one gun off the street, if we can save one life, then we have to take action.”
In short, The Safer Neighborhoods Gun Buyback Act of 2015 is a great idea if one wants to piss away $360 million of taxpayer money. What’s funny, though, is that I know a lot of people who would take advantage of that deal. Some of my friends are sitting on some real junk guns and would love to to trade them in for a debit card.
Based on language in the bill, the “debit cards will provide gun owners with funds 25 percent above the market value of the guns traded in, based on an assessment conducted by the Director of Bureau of Justice Assistance, and will be valid for two years. Sales on individual firearms are expected to range in price anywhere between $40 and $400 depending on alterations, condition, age, and model of the firearm.”
The one downside for those who would exploit the program would be that one couldn’t use the debit card to buy another firearm or ammunition, nor could one attempt to redeem it for cash.
Yes, this is an epically stupid idea. Will this bill gain any traction in Congress? Probably not. What it is is another example of just how idiotic our elected leaders are when it comes to addressing violence. Instead of putting that money toward, say, a targeted law enforcement effort to crackdown on drug dealers and gangs in high-crime neighborhoods, Congressman Payne, Jr. would rather appropriate it for an initiative that doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of “taking guns off the street.” I mean, where is his head at? What the heck is he thinking?