Gun buybacks don’t reduce gun violence, either

posted at 9:51 pm on January 14, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

While we’re “vigorously” pursuing “meaningful” gun legislation that can’t possibly make it through Congress if it’s anything near “meaningful” enough for this president, let’s also remind everyone that those flashy gun buyback programs local politicians love to tout do about as much to reduce gun violence as, well, gun control does in Chicago.

USA Today covers the latest outbreak of gun buybacks, popping up across the nation in the wake of Newtown. They come with flashy local news reports, B-roll rich with antique rifles and other castoff weapons whose confiscation would have been great for preventing stagecoach hold-ups but not modern crime waves.

Researchers who have evaluated gun control strategies say buybacks – despite their popularity – are among the least effective ways to reduce gun violence. They say targeted police patrols, intervention efforts with known criminals and, to a lesser extent, tougher gun laws all work better than buybacks.

The biggest weakness of buybacks, which offer cash or gift cards for guns, is that the firearms they usually collect are insignificant when measured against the arsenal now in the hands of American citizens.

Notice the ranking of solutions worth a damn when it comes to gun violence— police patrols, intervention, then tougher gun laws. That Wayne LaPierre is so out there with his suggestion of increased police presence in schools. Buybacks are even less effective than more gun control. Why? For the same reason gun control doesn’t work— buybacks deal mostly with law-abiding citizens, not criminals:

The relatively small number of guns recovered isn’t the only problem, Scott said. Buyback programs tend to attract people who are least likely to commit crimes and to retrieve guns that are least likely to be used in crimes.

Scott and others say violent criminals – the people who do most of the shooting and killing – steer clear of buyback programs unless they’re trying to make some quick cash by selling a weapon they don’t want anymore.

That means buyback campaigns more often end up with hunting rifles or old revolvers from someone’s attic than with automatic weapons from the trunk of a criminal’s car.

“They don’t get a lot of crime guns off the street,” said Matt Makarios, a criminal justice professor who studied buyback programs while at the University of Cincinnati in 2008. “You’re only going to reduce the likelihood of gun crimes if you reduce the number of guns used in crimes.”

A buyback in Tucson, Ariz., last week collected about 200 firearms, many of them old or inoperable, in exchange for about $10,000 worth of grocery gift cards. A few hundred feet away, gun dealers set up tables and offered cash for any guns in good enough condition to resell.

“Every gun that came in was an old gun, no assault weapons,” Tom Ditsch, who watched the event, told The Associated Press. “They didn’t even take any weapons off the streets.”

Supporters of buybacks are reduced to arguing they “raise awareness,” just to give you an idea of how big a failure they are in their actual objective. The upside of a buyback program is that at least citizens aren’t being coerced out of their guns, but are instead parting with them voluntarily. Unfortunately, someone was coerced out of the tax money to pay for them. But hey, it’s showy, ineffective, expensive, and gives organizers a deep sense of moral superiority. When you’ve got all that, who needs to actually reduce gun violence?

But don’t look now, the editorial-page team at one of New Jersey’s biggest newspapers is pro-gun buyback because it makes them feel good, so there, and anyone who thinks different probably just wants a “paramilitary weapon manufactured with the express purpose of shredding humans to death.” Uh huh. Who thinks the writer could actually point out a gun with that “express purpose” in a line-up and explain why it’s different than any other semi-automatic handgun of a similar caliber?

Australia is often mentioned by liberals as a gun-control model the U.S. could follow, despite the fact that it still faces mass shootings post-draconian gun control. I appreciate the relative honesty of these liberals who are actually saying they’d like to ban most, if not all, guns. That is entirely unconstitutional, but at least could plausibly reduce gun violence, unlike an “assault weapons ban.” But there’s a rather important part of Australia’s gun control that would be logistically impossible in America.

Australia implemented very restrictive gun control “banning all semiautomatic rifles and semiautomatic and pump-action shotguns and imposing a more restrictive licensing system on other firearms,” but it didn’t just stop there. The government then bought back and destroyed hundreds of thousands of existing guns to the tune of $500 million. This is perhaps the only instance where one might argue a buyback was helpful in reducing gun violence, though studies of Australia’s gun crime rates show “relatively small” improvement thanks to the law. There are an estimated 300 million guns in this country. The feds have neither the competence nor the money to pull off the biggest buyback in world history, and I like to believe the American people they’d be targeting aren’t yet quite docile enough to help them.

None of this, however, should be construed to mean they’ll never try. Lord knows I’ve stopped assuming much is beyond this administration.

Photo credit for front-page photo to gregpc on Flickr.


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Folks, something I’ve noticed over the years lurking here. When there’s a big news item or event, it always brings out a few new trolls. I talked about that with the only HA commenter I know off line and he seemed to agree. He also thinks they’re mostly the same few people. One in particular seems to comment under so many different names, I wonder how they keep all their stories straight. But its creepy.

The thing that seems to be a part of all of their characters is this notion that they’re basically on the side of the issue as the conservatives here but with some exception or point of contention. I think its to try to soften our stance on whatever issue we’re talking about.

Anyway, I’ve always looked up to the older more seasoned HA commenters here for their ability to recognize these folks and jack them up. Hats off to you all.

smoothsailing on January 15, 2013 at 8:45 AM

kingsjester on January 15, 2013 at 8:36 AM

You’re one of the folks I was referring to in my last comment.

smoothsailing on January 15, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Gun buybacks are an excellent way to keep liberals busy doing something harmless. We need more of them!

thuja on January 15, 2013 at 8:48 AM

And how many bullets does a law-abiding citizen need to protect himself? I would wager 100 bullets is enough to last anyone a lifetime. And 20 or 30 would be enough in reality. So gimme a break on ammo being unaffordable.

nonpartisan on January 14, 2013 at 10:03 PM

How would you ever know how much ammunition a person needs? Gun ownership extends beyond self-defense. I happen to compete in High Power Service rifle matches – and go thru 100 “bullets” a weekend. Switching over to the ammunition you’re suggesting would be very cost prohibitive – but that’s what you want – isn’t it?

Hill60 on January 15, 2013 at 8:59 AM

“Every gun that came in was an old gun, no assault weapons,”

Yeah, I’ll bet there were some Enfields that fire that old low power .303 round, maybe some beat up SKSes, Moisin Nagaants, and a Garand or two.

None of those are of the assaulting weapon species of course. They are low powered antiques without enormous hair clips.

CorporatePiggy on January 15, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Such skills are admirable but it’s still an important point that in the next few years even people with little if any skill will be able to print their own in a fraction of the time. It would be futile and harmful to law abiding citizens to try banning something that is unbannable.

FloatingRock on January 15, 2013 at 12:25 AM

I really wish people who have no concept of what 3D additive manufacturing entails (both from an equipment and materials standpoint), would just stop it with this line. Average Joe Citizen isn’t going to be sitting around in their underwear, loading up the printer with powdered composite material or powdered metal, churning out finished magazines. There’s a reason magazines are made (formed) from sheet material, as the build-up of composite and epoxy or metal dust and laser sintering (which requires a lot of power), doesn’t have the grain structure (structural strength) of formed sheet. Anything more than careful handling of the part and it will BREAK. Put a spring in it and load it full of ammo, and it will most likely crack and fly apart after a few loadings, at most. Not to mention the hammering of recoil working on it. It IS “bannable”, at least for the average citizen who doesn’t own or operate a manufacturing facility (or, at the very least, a capable small fabrication shop).

Shepherd Lover on January 15, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Your ammo is less important than protecting the lives of kids. If one kids life is saved means you dont get to enjoy your fridays target shooting, that is a sacrifice I’m willing to enforce. And the president has the power to do so with executive orders

Oh you are an idiot. More kids die from food allergies – so let’s ban peanuts. If we could save just one life… let’s ban bicycles. If we could save just one life… let’s ban crossing the street. If we could save just one life… let’s ban pools. If we could save just one life…

Go troll somewhere else – you fool.

Hill60 on January 15, 2013 at 9:04 AM

Trollcot.

CorporatePiggy on January 15, 2013 at 9:19 AM

and its violence that needs to be addressed. Not guns, crutches or cars. VIOLENCE! People in road rage, rage in homes and so on. Maryland for example proposes to fingerprint gun owners. That will do nothing for this issue. If they want a real issue solved, solve it right. Look forward to the problem continuing. All they have is gun control on the brain. The real problem is still out there.

johnnyU on January 15, 2013 at 9:21 AM

Oh you are an idiot. More kids die from food allergies – so let’s ban peanuts. If we could save just one life… let’s ban bicycles. If we could save just one life… let’s ban crossing the street. If we could save just one life… let’s ban pools. If we could save just one life…

Agreed. Ban meat chunks in chili large enough to choke on, while your at it. Violence is the issue. Anger. An NFL player just dropped off someone with a knife wound at a hospital and thats in the news. Well…. a knife! What kind of people is he hanging with? Thats the issue. Its a behavior issue, not a gun knife or car issue.

johnnyU on January 15, 2013 at 9:24 AM

and its violence that needs to be addressed. Not guns, crutches or cars. VIOLENCE! People in road rage, rage in homes and so on. Maryland for example proposes to fingerprint gun owners. That will do nothing for this issue. If they want a real issue solved, solve it right. Look forward to the problem continuing. All they have is gun control on the brain. The real problem is still out there.

johnnyU on January 15, 2013 at 9:21 AM

Liberals need to have problems, even to the point of creating them. Real solutions to actual causes terrify them. That’s why they have constant objection to a solution that might actually work. They don’t want armed security in schools to prevent mass shootings. Or, they don’t want mental health issues too open because it might ‘stigmatize’.

They don’t believe criminals are ever responsible; it’s only that society makes people do wrong (an old idea that was debunked in the 1890s but libs still cling bitterly to it).

They don’t want stop-and-frisk because it’s ‘racist’ or might be ‘unfairly applied’. But they think it’s just fine for TSA to frisk little old ladies to prevent the liberal horror-of-horrors of profiling.

Liberals are really the ones who allow crime to continue or otherwise facilitate it.

Liam on January 15, 2013 at 9:29 AM

But gun buybacks make the liberals feel like they are doing something and- being completely voluntary- does NOT violate gun rights. It’s a ‘Look, Squirrel!’ type activity we should accept.

I know one group that sold a bunch of old junk guns and used the money to provide range time for a kids camp. :)

michaelo on January 15, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Guy buybacks are highly successful. Liberals get to spend other people’s money, and it makes them feel good about themselves. That’s the primary criteria for success in a government program if you’re a liberal. Just look at Head Start.

Socratease on January 15, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Lord knows I’ve stopped assuming much anything is beyond this administration.

FIFY MKH. Keep up the good work.

GWB on January 15, 2013 at 9:55 AM

Your ammo is less important than protecting the lives of kids. If one kids life is saved means you dont get to enjoy your fridays target shooting, that is a sacrifice I’m willing to enforce. And the president has the power to do so with executive orders.

nonpartisan on January 14, 2013 at 10:10 PM

 
Per the CDC (for those of you who are influenced by phrases like “fair share”, that’s the federal U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):
 

Firearm homicides

Number of deaths: 11,493
Deaths per 100,000 population: 3.7

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/homicide.htm

AIDS and HIV

Mortality

Number of deaths: 9,406
Deaths per 100,000 population: 3.1

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/aids-hiv.htm

 
So, nonpartisan, how serious are you about that “If one kids life is saved means you dont get to enjoy your fridays…”

rogerb on January 15, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Anti-Liberty, anti-gun Prog art in NY–which has basically just seceded from the United States Constitution.

Urban Infidel on January 15, 2013 at 10:04 AM

We did a gun buy back in Baghdad in 2004. Intel weanies picked up intercepts of Iran talking to Muchtada al Sadr – all openly mocking the stupid Americans – about how they should just trade in the broken/INOP weapons and Iran would provide Sadr (and his Mehdi Army) with new weapons, munitions, and what not.

It doesn’t work here either, the bad guys here do the same as the Iraqi bad guys, and to add insult to injury, the buybacks often prompt burglaries.

John_G on January 15, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Gun buybacks are an excellent way to keep liberals busy doing something harmless. We need more of them!

thuja on January 15, 2013 at 8:48 AM

..if we can con them into thinking that black powder replica pistols are worth $200 at a buy-back, just wait til Cabela’s puts their Pietta 1851 colt .44s on sale for $139, buy a dozen, turn ‘em in, and pocket $61 “a piece” (get it?) for each.

Maybe if you’re skillful enough, you could have Cabela’s just drop ship the pistols to the PD doing the buy-back?

The War Planner on January 15, 2013 at 10:30 AM

I just get my jollies killing ppl in video games that present no risk to anyone.

nonpartisan on January 14, 2013 at 10:43 PM

..this tool is probably doing more to condition himself to committing violent acts by playing the absolutely violent video games than if he were to own a 1911 A1 and visit the range “every Friday”.

First time things go sideways in his precious little world, he grabs a firearm and goes ape-shit on the populace, I’m betting.

The War Planner on January 15, 2013 at 10:38 AM

New James O’Keefe video: Anti-gun journalists refuse to display ‘proudly gun free’ yard signs
http://twitchy.com/2013/01/15/new-james-okeefe-video-anti-gun-journalists-refuse-to-display-proudly-gun-free-yard-signs/
Posing as “Citizens Against Senseless Violence,” O’Keefe and company visited the homes of anti-gun journalists employed by The Journal News in New York and the Star-Ledger in New Jersey.
They also swung by Touré’s place and paid a visit to the ol’ Eric Holder homestead. Each household was asked to display a yard sign with the words “This Home is Proudly Gun Free.”
Any guesses how that turned out?

@ProjectVeritas_ Journalists, Politicians Refuse to Post Lawn Sign saying “HOME
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wt1Zy_ASNyA&feature=player_detailpage

Colbyjack on January 15, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Yeah, I’ll bet there were some Enfields that fire that old low power .303 round, maybe some beat up SKSes, Moisin Nagaants, and a Garand or two.

None of those are of the assaulting weapon species of course. They are low powered antiques without enormous hair clips.

Funny, I never heard the .30-’06 (Garand) described as “low powered” before. The old battle rifles used relatively powerful rounds, with range and anti-materiel capability. The AR-15s are way down in power by comparison because the military decided to trade off power for round count.

Socratease on January 15, 2013 at 10:42 AM

“paramilitary weapon manufactured with the express purpose of shredding humans to death.”

A machete, right?

I gots one of those, too.

ajacksonian on January 15, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Funny, I never heard the .30-’06 (Garand) described as “low powered” before. The old battle rifles used relatively powerful rounds, with range and anti-materiel capability. The AR-15s are way down in power by comparison because the military decided to trade off power for round count.

Socratease on January 15, 2013 at 10:42 AM

.
Yeah. Make mine an AR-14, please.

listens2glenn on January 15, 2013 at 10:49 AM

..if we can con them into thinking that black powder replica pistols are worth $200 at a buy-back, just wait til Cabela’s puts their Pietta 1851 colt .44s on sale for $139, buy a dozen, turn ‘em in, and pocket $61 “a piece” (get it?) for each.

Maybe if you’re skillful enough, you could have Cabela’s just drop ship the pistols to the PD doing the buy-back?

The War Planner on January 15, 2013 at 10:30 AM

0_0 That is freaking brilliant! Dang, now I’ll have to see if there’s a gun buyback in my city and what they’re paying.

..this tool is probably doing more to condition himself to committing violent acts by playing the absolutely violent video games than if he were to own a 1911 A1 and visit the range “every Friday”.

First time things go sideways in his precious little world, he grabs a firearm and goes ape-shit on the populace, I’m betting.

The War Planner on January 15, 2013 at 10:38 AM

Please tell me you forgot the /sarc tag.

Between playing the S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Gears of War, Half-Life, and the Fallout game series, I’ve racked up a body count in the thousands. Worst thing I’ve ever wanted to do to a real person was deck them in the mouth for lying and snitching that caused me to lose my job.

I’m actually LESS likely to go nuts because I have equal experience being shot at. Seeing a virtual squadmate’s head take a sniper round or taking cover from twelve bandits with assault rifles is a hard reminder that you are not the only one around with lethal force.

MelonCollie on January 15, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Yeah, I’ll bet there were some Enfields that fire that old low power .303 round, maybe some beat up SKSes, Moisin Nagaants, and a Garand or two.

None of those are of the assaulting weapon species of course. They are low powered antiques without enormous hair clips.

I own a Mosin-Nagant M91/30 (actually three of them) and I assure you that the 7.62 x 54R round is no feather. The Soviet snipers in WW II used them with scopes to devastating effect upon the Wehrmacht, and the round can kill out to 800 yards.

The M-1 Garand uses a .30-06 (06 refers to 1906) round that’s every bit the round that the 7.62 x 54R is.

Current 5.56 mm rounds of the AR-15 or the 7.62 x 39 of the AK are no match for the damage the old rifles can inflict upon their targets.

Anti-Statist on January 15, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Funny, I never heard the .30-’06 (Garand) described as “low powered” before. The old battle rifles used relatively powerful rounds, with range and anti-materiel capability. The AR-15s are way down in power by comparison because the military decided to trade off power for round count.

Socratease on January 15, 2013 at 10:42 AM

I’m thinking the original post was sarcasm.

Midas on January 15, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Pres. of the Commies aka Pres. Obama .

Steve Stockman Republican 36th dist of Texas, southeast of Houston Tx says that if Obama attempts to change the 2nd amendment by executive orders, then Stockman will file art. of impeachment.

Mark Levin has a poll up. http://www.marklevinshow.com

Question:
“Is Pres. Obama an imperial Pres.”
Current at 12:00 Eastern time
98% Yes.
2 % No.

Mark says that if Obama attempts to do a executive order to do the debt celling on his own then Pres Obama must be impeached.

No matter how many wish to hide from this man man Obama, the fight will come.

He is mad and he is bluffing, when we call his hand he will fly off the handle.

Call his buss shit bluff now. All’s he has is the commie left who will back him with crazy bull shit he is attempting.

well ok a few RINO’s will try to help him too like McCain and Collin Powell…. it is what it is.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on January 15, 2013 at 12:22 PM

ObamaPhone Lady Will Not Be Voting For Obama For President In 2016! Nosireebob!

Won’t matter. She and her ilk have already chose poorly. Either Barry decides to retire to his Hawaiian palace paradise after his time is up, or in the face of unprecedented national catastrophe and turmoil he’s declared president for life by 2016 eliminating the need for further presidential elections. So her point is irrelevant.

hawkeye54 on January 15, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Question:
“Is Pres. Obama an imperial Pres.”
Current at 12:00 Eastern time
98% Yes.
2 % No.

And about half of the 98% are cool with Barry being imperial.

hawkeye54 on January 15, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Funny, I never heard the .30-’06 (Garand) described as “low powered” before. The old battle rifles used relatively powerful rounds, with range and anti-materiel capability. The AR-15s are way down in power by comparison because the military decided to trade off power for round count.

Socratease on January 15, 2013 at 10:42 AM

He wrote that the Enfield’s 303 was underpowered.

James on January 15, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Criminals in L.A. report that they like buybacks: they use the money to buy better guns!

PattyJ on January 15, 2013 at 1:21 PM

Socratease on January 15, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Anti-Statist on January 15, 2013 at 11:28 AM

James on January 15, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Y’all need to take your sarcasm detectors in for a tune-up.

GWB on January 15, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Y’all need to take your sarcasm detectors in for a tune-up.

GWB on January 15, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Misreading is now sarcasm?

James on January 15, 2013 at 4:17 PM

James on January 15, 2013 at 4:17 PM

CorporatePiggy’s comment was definitely sarcasm (as evidenced by the “hair clip” bit). Socratease and Anti-Statist took it as if it were a serious comment. Then you commented as if they misread the comment (as it related to which round was under-powered) instead of not reading it as satire. If you understood CorporatePiggy was being sarcastic, fine, but your comment seemed to continue in the other two’s vein of seriousness.

GWB on January 15, 2013 at 4:39 PM

Y’all need to take your sarcasm detectors in for a tune-up.

GWB on January 15, 2013 at 2:17 PM

.
All I can seem to think of is that sarcasm detector exploding, on The Simpsons.

That was FUNNY … : )

listens2glenn on January 15, 2013 at 4:51 PM

In case that two-synapsed troll, nonpartisan, is still with us here, I have a short quiz for him to take. I have yet to get an answer on this from any self-professed, compassionate “progressive”.

*************************************

POP QUIZ

It’s 1:00 AM on the streets of a large American city.

A gay couple leaves a nightclub and starts walking back to their apartment. At the same time, an angry (and very bigoted) drunk is being kicked out of a bar across the street for having started a fight.

Still filled with rage, he sees the gay couple across the street laughing and holding hands on their way home. He grabs a 2-by-4 from a nearby dumpster and crosses the street and confronts the couple, swinging the piece of wood and yelling hateful slurs.

There IS going to be violence.

Whom would you prefer to see on the receiving end?

Bruce MacMahon on January 15, 2013 at 6:07 PM

“Every gun that came in was an old gun, no assault weapons,” Tom Ditsch, who watched the event, told The Associated Press. “They didn’t even take any weapons off the streets.”

Hey – offer me say $250 (like Trenton, NJ did) and I’d gladly turn in my brand new $120 Marlin .22 – and go buy 2 more to replace it.

Idiot bureaucrats at work spending taxpayer money and accomplishing NOTHING.

dentarthurdent on January 15, 2013 at 6:54 PM

And how many posts does an annoying dweeb need to assert himself? I would wager 100 posts is enough to last anyone a lifetime. And 20 or 30 would be enough in reality. So gimme a break and quit feeding the troll.

S. D. on January 15, 2013 at 8:15 PM

Criminals in L.A. report that they like buybacks: they use the money to buy bling and drugs, and steal better guns!

FIFY

hawkeye54 on January 16, 2013 at 4:46 PM

How many have noticed that “Non-Partisan” is making use of the “Barney Fife Plan”??

If you watched the Andy Griffith Show back in the 60′s, you will remember Barney Fife as the somewhat incompetent deputy sheriff of Mayberry. After a series of gun mishaps, Barney was allowed to carry a gun, but was only allowed to carry one bullet — and he had to carry that bullet in his shirt pocket.

Look for Obama and the Dems to launch a PR blitz suggesting that gun owners are really not much more than Barney Fife wanna-be’s, and if the 2nd amendment must be nodded at, then gun owners shouldn’t be allowed to own guns that shoot more than one bullet before reloading. . . . . .

Narniaman on January 17, 2013 at 5:52 PM

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