Out in Minneapolis, the local government decided to take another run at getting illegal guns off the streets and out of the hands of criminals this month. It’s a noble effort to be sure, and a desirable goal which most of us could agree on. Unfortunately the chosen method was once again the largely discredited technique of offering to buy back weapons from criminals, no questions asked. In return for surrendering their arms, the “owners” were to receive Visa gift cards worth up to hundreds of dollars which could be spent pretty much anywhere. The results, as we’ve seen in so many other places, were dubious to say the least. (Fox News)

A Minneapolis gun buyback program targeting weapons used in street crimes may be shooting blanks, as detractors said a Saturday collection mostly took in antiquated, unused or homemade arms from legal owners and did little to thin the firearm supply actually available to dangerous criminals.

Two Minneapolis locations collected about 150 firearms Saturday, but both exchanges were forced to shut down several hours early when officials ran out of Visa gift cards – $25,000 worth, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported…

The lure of a Visa gift card worth between $15 and $300 was enough to make some enterprising Minnesotans get creative.

One person constructed a “shotgun” out of a piece of wood, some tape and a pipe. They were given a $100 gift card for the contraption, according to a Facebook post from the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus.

There’s a picture of the “shotgun” in question at the link. It’s literally a piece of pipe stuck into a chunk of wood. And the owner received 100 bucks of Minnesota taxpayer money for it. The other weapons which showed up were, from local reports, legally owned items which were largely antiques and broken guns, giving the owners a convenient way to legally dispose of an otherwise problematic piece of trash.

One of the participants registered some skepticism about how well the program was working.

One anonymous gun owner told WCCO he received $200 in gift cards that he planned to use to buy a new firearm. That man said he didn’t think the program was serving its intended purpose.

“I just don’t feel that a criminal is going to come up to a fire department with a bunch of police around it and turn in a gun,” he said.

It’s a pity we don’t have that citizen’s name because I’d love to offer them the official Hot Air Grasp of the Obvious trophy for August, 2016. If there are actual criminals out there with serviceable weapons, they likely don’t want to give them up because of the hassle involved in stealing a new one or paying for it on the black market. Also, if they’d ever used it in a previous crime it could serve as evidence against them. And the process of turning it in for the gift card can’t be terribly comfortable for your average felon. Walking up to a fire station in the midst of a crowd of cops to announce that you’ve got a hot handgun for sale is unlikely to draw in any criminals with an IQ higher than your average zucchini.

This isn’t the first time these programs have come under fire (pun intended). Similar results have been seen in other cities and the cost always falls on the taxpayer. We previously talked about a Connecticut program injecting tax dollars into an attempt to get people to sell their weapons to the government. It was an expensive boondoggle which removed no usable illegal weapons from the system that anyone could identify.

Here’s an exciting, alternate solution. How about focusing law enforcement efforts on sniffing out the actual criminals who have weapons, arresting them and taking their guns away? I know that will be offensive to the Social Justice Warriors, but it’s such a crazy idea that it just might work.

Gun Buyback