Social Worker: The Way to Fix Gun Buybacks Is to Offer A Lot More Money for Street Guns

(Photo: ABC Action News)

The reason gun buybacks don’t work is that the government is not offering enough money for street guns, argues Dr. Jonathan Wilson Jr., a social worker, researcher, and Southwest Philadelphia resident. 

Wilson, who is confined to a wheelchair after multiple encounters with gun violence, made his case in a recent op-ed in The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Typical black market prices for an automatic gun are between $800 and $1,000,” Wilson explains. “The price for a revolver or a ‘throwaway’ is between $300 and $500. At those prices, $1 million would be enough to buy at least 1,000 firearms and make a significant reduction in the roughly 300 murders this city sees annually.”

“Philadelphia, it’s time to put our money where our mouth is and embrace data-driven decisions,” he continues.  

Dr. Wilson contends that if the city offered at least “$1,000 for automatics and ghost guns” and “$500 for revolvers” it would move the needle. 

“Those who oppose this are not wearing their thinking caps — the cost is but a fraction of the price needed to prosecute a homicide case or to incarcerate someone convicted of homicide for the rest of their life,” says Wilson. “Moreover, there is no price comparable to one life saved.”

Dr. Wilson seems like a nice guy.

With due respect to Dr. Wilson, let me just put on my “thinking cap” and say, in the nicest possible way, you have no idea what you’re talking about, do you?  

Let’s start with the “data,” and make a “data-driven decision” regarding gun buybacks.  The jury’s in, they don’t work!

As GunsAmerica previously reported, a 2021 study of gun buybacks from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that “Using data from the National Incident Based Reporting System, we find no evidence that GBPs reduce gun crime,” including “ suicides or homicides where a firearm was involved.”

SEE ALSO: Elderly Ohio Woman Fatally Shoots Suspect Attacking Her Husband

Interestingly though, the authors of the study observed a slight uptick in crime immediately following a gun buyback.  They expound as to why this might be the case.  

“Given that most buybacks are small in scope, involve poorly functioning firearms, and involve participants with low propensity for crime, how can we explain the short-run small crime increase that we observe following a GBP (gun buyback program)?  The result is consistent with a number of hypotheses,” they say, while enumerating the following: 

  • First, as noted above, the marginal participant may have sold a poorly functioning firearm to obtain income used to purchase a well-functioning firearms that may be used in or stolen for the commission of gun crime.  
  • Second, the GBP may induce come potential criminals to engage in more crime because they perceive that law-abiding citizens participating in GBP will be less likely to defend themselves with deadly force (Lott 1998).  
  • Third, some buybacks, particularly those that repeated, may induce stocking up of firearms among those who (i) fear that repeated buybacks may lead to tighter compulsory gun control policies, or (ii) are responding to a reduction in the ownership cost of firearms and expect to see the firearms in the future (Mullin 2001).

Got that, Dr. Wilson?  Gun buybacks may actually imperil the lives of the law-abiding because they create more defenseless targets, incentivize stockpiling and dole out funds that can be used by hardened criminals to purchase better weaponry.  

But if one study isn’t enough to convince you, other academics have also reached similar conclusions over the years.  SUNY Buffalo State associate professor Scott W. Phillips looked at city crime data in relation to five gun buybacks held between 2007 and 2012 and found no evidence — zero evidence — that they reduce crime.

“Does it work? No,” Phillips told The Buffalo News in 2017.  “Should they keep doing it? I wouldn’t bother wasting their time,” he added.

And if the data and research in these studies aren’t enough to convince you, Dr. Wilson.  Try common sense.  Why would any drug dealer or career criminal give up their meal ticket for a $1,000?  

How is the street corner gangster gonna keep his well-armed rivals in check if he gives up his guns?  How is the seasoned robber going to convince the bank’s armed security to turn over the contents of the safe if he sold his carry piece at the last buyback?  

Set this scenario in a different context, for a moment. Suppose Dr. WIlson that you convinced an addict to sell you his needles. Do you really think he is going to stop doing drugs? No chance!

Dr. Wilson, I respect that you want to make a difference in your community and you want to save lives. But buybacks don’t work.  They’re a complete waste of money.  For the health and well-being of Philadelphia, please consider other options.

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Shanz September 25, 2021, 7:25 pm

    “ automatics” or “ ghost guns”????
    It would help your anti gun cause to not sound like a complete retard. Just a thought.

  • Armed and Dangerous September 24, 2021, 8:34 pm

    This Dr. Wilson Schmuck says “Moreover, there is no price comparable to one life saved.” He’s right. A gun saved my life at 23 years of age. I’m now 71 and would not be here if it were not for my concealed firearm 48 years ago.

  • Zupglick September 24, 2021, 3:37 pm

    Was this guy born stupid or does he have to work at it?
    Say you offer $1k for a gun. The thug can pick up $10k robbing people with it.
    What do you think he’s going to do?

  • AK September 24, 2021, 11:04 am

    I have an old RG Industries .38 revolver, a 60’s German import bad copy of a Smith & Wesson Combat Masterpiece. Piece of crap that fell into my lap for free many years ago. Please offer me $500 for it….please? I want a Gen 5 Glock 19….

    • NunyaB September 24, 2021, 7:04 pm

      That would be nice if they would start paying $1,000 per gun. I can go to home depot with $300, even less if I go to a junkyard and salvage. I could make 30 zip guns in less than a weekend and make $30,000!!! I could retire early and the streets would be much safer…. right? I’m really liking this guys idea. They don’t have to even be safe to fire since they’ll be destroyed anyways or sold through the fast and furious program. I’m sorry, but I’m kinda a fan of gun by backs, especially around Christmas. You guys should be encouraging anti second amendment groups to do these and let them buy your cheap and broken guns so you can get better ones or more ammo. Hell, you could even make a nice profit buying Hi-points and selling them!! Imagine taking in a few single shot shotguns that you only paid $80 for and walking out with $5k, sounds like my idea of a good day!

      But that’s the problem with these things, criminals don’t give up their guns, but law abiding people might break a couple laws if there’s an exception that will allow them to profit from other people’s stupidity.

  • Robert Lee September 24, 2021, 9:48 am

    Laugh everytime I hear “Buy Back…” So according to the English language you owned these guns and sold them to criminals and you now want them back… this is the subtle and intentional hacking of the language to support ridiculous positions that would be laughable otherwise. Further sinking the “narrative ” is the reference to “automatic weapons” showing the usual cluelessness of the gun control agenda.

    • Gopher September 24, 2021, 10:58 am

      To be fair, the way Wilson uses, “automatic”, indicates he is referring to semi-automatic pistols. It is a throwback to early twentieth century when semi-automatic pistols were introduced and people informally made a distinction between prevalent revolvers and new-fangled magazine-fed self-loaders.

  • David Dean September 24, 2021, 9:21 am

    Let Philly have the experiment. The city council should allocate $1,000,000 to buy back street guns. And they should allocate the necessary funds to publicly track crime rates afterwards with caveats. Lets see if the “significant” reduction Dr Wilson opines will follow. Dr Wilson will have to define significant reduction, quantifiably. He will have to take out an insurance policy that will reimburse the city $2,000,000 if that significant reduction is not realized. With the additional $1,000,000 the city council will take applications from lower income families to apply for funds to purchase self defense weapons and training. The rates of crime will then be tracked after supplying the community with the ability to protect their family, property and self.

  • krinkov545 September 24, 2021, 9:17 am

    I’m getting so sick of the endless foolishness of these vile disgusting lefty dipsheep. He’s probably a former gang thug and that’s why he got shot and he more than deserves his predicament too.

  • Real America September 24, 2021, 8:26 am

    You should offer more than I pay at the gun shop!
    I’d bring you truck loads

  • Mario September 24, 2021, 8:08 am

    Gun Buy Backs are a great way for criminals to dispose of evidence…and get money for it.

  • Dale September 24, 2021, 7:52 am

    Let Me Think – Dr. Wilson, so all the guns on the BLACK market were stolen right? So where do you think the replacement guns are going to come from fool? Santa Claus?
    Wait – does the crime rate go down if you can sell stolen guns to the government, make money and then go out and steel some more and supply the criminals? How’s that social work thinking working for you?
    Do us a favor and move to Cuba, Australia or Venezuela where there are no gun problems.

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