NYC Boroughs Double Down on Failed Gun Buybacks

(Photo: NSSF)

By Larry Keane

New York City has a violent crime problem and accidental Mayor Bill de Blasio is shuffling deck chairs in attempts to address it. After proposing to cut $1 billion from New York City’s law enforcement budget just as crime skyrocketed, he’s throwing taxpayer money at failed policies. That includes gun buyback programs that don’t reduce violent crime and waste money. Worse, they give a false impression to the public that something effective is being done to reduce the criminal misuse of illegally possessed firearms.

Criminals Taking to the Streets

New York’s crime problem started much earlier but was literally set on fire with the coronavirus response. New York was quick to release criminals from prisons. The result? In one instance, more than 1,500 criminals were back on the streets. Many were re-arrested for committing more crimes. Add to that the rising violence from riots and looting and the city has seen some of the worst violent crime surges. The violence was exemplified when a father was gunned down in broad daylight while walking in a crosswalk hand-in-hand with his seven-year-old daughter.

Mayor de Blasio watched it all and heard the “defund the police” cries. He cut a billion dollars from the budget of the men and women risking their lives to keep the cities safe. “I’m excited to say we have a plan that can achieve real reform, that can achieve real redistribution,” the mayor said while announcing the cuts. Now, he wasting what’s left.

Brooklyn hosted a gun “buyback” event. Men and women could trade in their firearms and receive $25 bank cards for rifles and shotguns and $200 per each handgun or so-called “assault rifle.” This was the first buyback held in Brooklyn since 2016, when 60 firearms were recovered. This year’s event netted 33.

Leaving police departments without necessary resources to address violent crime leads to unserious and ineffective attempts, like “buybacks.” Studies show they fail in their goal and criminals are largely not the ones participating. A significant majority of law enforcement officials rate them as ineffective in reducing violent crime. On gun buybacks one researcher, Scott W. Phillips, an associate professor of criminal justice, put it bluntly. “Does it work?… No. Should they keep doing it? I wouldn’t waste my time.”

If Mayor de Blasio needs more feedback he can look to the Obama Administration, which concluded buyback programs are ineffective in its National Institute of Justice memo.

Window Dressing

The simple reason these don’t work is criminals aren’t turning in their guns. The guns that are turned in are broken or in disrepair from years of neglect and those that are collected are never tested against any ballistics databases to verify if they were used in a crime.

This playing fast and loose with taxpayer money isn’t limited to mayors tanking in their own cities. Democratic nominee Joe Biden embraced a national mandatory gun buyback program as part of their antigun platform. Together with Mayor de Blasio, these unserious officials continue to bandage over serious issues and push gun control policies that only infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.

The firearm industry has Real Solutions® that work with law enforcement. These initiatives have proven successful at keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and reducing unintentional firearm accidents. These are initiatives such as Don’t Lie for the Other GuyTM , Operation Secure Store® and Project ChildSafe® that are working. The same can’t be said for the “buyback” window dressing that doesn’t address the problem of crime.

Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.

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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • ClearlyInsane1 September 25, 2020, 6:04 pm

    I saw a picture of the handguns that they bought which included: two airsoft, at least one BB pistol, two starter pistols, and several pot metal junk handguns. One was a pre-1899 black powder pistol — hardly a contributor to gun violence. I’m sure zero of the firearms they bought would ever get used in a crime. Looks like the “buyback” group got taken on most of these!

  • rt66paul September 25, 2020, 1:06 pm

    Remember that their are handguns(single shot, revolvers and semi auto) that can be purchased for well under $200, not to mention used .22 and .25 “ring of fire” guns that can be found used for much less that $100 in many states. Handguns that are worn out and just don’t work properly can also be bought cheaply.
    I am sure that there are many who would sell you their crap guns face to face for $250.

  • Wyoming September 25, 2020, 10:41 am

    These so called gun buy ups are a joke. Does anyone really think gang members or drug dealers will sell their guns to the city?
    Another thing, several friends and I talked and everyone agreed that the police set up surveillance vans with cameras photographing everyone who shows up and getting their licence plate number. So the city and police know who’s turning in guns.
    Say, didn’t Nazi Germany do this back in the 1930’s?

  • Mark Gutsmiedl September 25, 2020, 10:28 am

    I had to laugh when I saw a picture of the guns that were turned in lying on a table and 2 of them were airsoft guns! I have seen makeshift firearms at some of these buy backs. You know where someone just made something that looked like a gun.

  • perlcat September 25, 2020, 9:39 am

    Stripped ar15 lower: $50. Buyback value as it is an “assault weapon”: $200. I have a suggestion for how to finance your ammo purchases, NYC residents.

  • The SGM September 25, 2020, 8:14 am

    What the h___ is it with these liberal anti gunners and politicians running or even proposing a “Gun Buyback” program?
    How can they, in all their educated legislative ability ‘buy back’ something they never owned in the first place??
    Try that process on a new car dealer or other product and you will be asked/told to leave the building; which is what the politicians and anti-gunners should do.
    Besides, offering $200 for a weapon which is mostly worth more is an insult as any purchase should be made at minimum 50% value as determined by the latest Blue Book of Gun Values; but it is still not a ‘buy back it is a sale and should follow all appropriate Federal Law. Regardless, it is still stupid.

  • Dr Motonw September 25, 2020, 7:10 am

    Turn in any non-functioning firearm and rusty antique that you have…..use the money to buy more ammo!

  • Brandon September 25, 2020, 3:41 am

    I’m pretty anti-gun but I feel like NYC is t doing enough to stop the violence. Out of the goodness of my heart and deep concern for my fellow man, I feel compelled to offer you for $250 for any handgun or assault weapon, and $35 for and rifles or shotguns.

    Just stack em up in my wagon, if that fills up we will put them in the jeep. Come one, come all, do it out of love!

    • michael September 27, 2020, 7:47 am

      I own beater guns (ALL WORK) & I wouldn’t sell any of them for less than $400.00. IF I would even think about selling them. I’d like to attend one of these buy backs to purhase the half way decent guns, & offer a legitimate price.

  • Taxx73 September 24, 2020, 11:36 am

    $200 for a gun that I paid over $700 for? You are out of your g.d. mind if you think that I’m going to take a $500 loss on something that I want to keep and not sell for any reason. I got an old bb rifle they can have for $25 but thats only because it’s so old the barrel keeps slipping out of the socket every couple shots. Shove your “buybacks ” up your ass.
    TRUMP 2020!
    Remember if you come for mine you better bring yours!!
    LEAVE OUR RIGHTS ALONE!!!

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