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Posted by: TEEBONE ®

09/02/2019, 10:03:51

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Buyback won't stop crime, but may prevent tragedy

By Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje, Staff writer
5-7 minutes

Gun buyback programs, such as a one being proposed by the San Antonio City Council, aren’t the answer to America’s — or even San Antonio’s — gun problem.

Whether we admit it or not, we have a gun problem. Never mind the political rhetoric, just focus on the body count. According to Gun Violence Archive, a D.C.-based not-for-profit group that fact-checks and logs information on gun-related violence, we’re up to 9,721 deaths nationwide as of early last week, not including suicides.

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This isn’t just about El Paso; this includes a shooting at a home near Old Pearsall Road and Five Palms Drive last Monday and another on East Crockett and North Polaris Street. Both were fatal, local and took place the day before the Council Consideration Request for a gun buyback program was announced.

But according to Police Chief William McManus, buyback programs aren’t even effective.

“It’s a noble cause to think that gun buyback will reduce violence,” the chief told Express-News reporter Sara Cline last week. “It has proven again and again that it doesn’t work.”

That makes a lot of sense. It stands to reason that buybacks only work to get unwanted guns off the street, but they won’t do much to coax guns out of the hands of those who really want their weapons, especially criminals for whom firearms are part of the job.

Typically, either a police department or a grassroots group hosts an event and promises something in exchange for a firearm, no questions asked. Sometimes it’s cash, sometimes it’s a $50 gift card good for groceries. Sometimes, the program targets specific weapons, such as handguns, or ammunition or ups the exchange for military-grade weapons, but sometimes any gun — even a broken one — will do. The weapons are generally examined by the authorities to see if they were stolen or used in a crime. Finally, they are destroyed.

The initial outreach, the exchange itself and the post-exchange investigation takes its toll on the budget and the force, using resources that could be deployed to get the tougher-to-get guns off the street.

But one never knows. A couple of years ago, Fort Worth police set up an exchange for $50 gift cards; only an hour into the event, they had run out of gift cards and collected 78 guns. But a few months later, another exchange there drew private citizens with handmade “If I like your gun, I’ll pay cash!” signs wanting to make deals with people who turned up to turn in guns for gift cards.

Either way, there’s no reason to believe the same outcomes wouldn’t happen here. Council member John Courage wants to spend at least $250,000 on the program. That could buy a lot of gift cards — and a lot of police resources.

Here’s what we do know: Such a program could ensure that guns owned by people who really don’t want them don’t fall into the hands of people who really shouldn’t have them.

Sometimes people inherit weapons. Sometimes people find weapons they know their loved ones shouldn’t have. Sometimes life changes direction faster than gun ownership does. A person who doesn’t want such a weapon — and isn’t willing to release it into the world for a price — shouldn’t just leave it in the closet and hope for the best, nor should that person try to take it apart or drive out to Calaveras Lake and dump it.

This is where a buyback program will make a difference. It could remove the gun that could be found by a child. It could remove the trigger pulled in a moment of fogginess, anger or desperation. It could destroy the gun waiting to be stolen by someone who aims to use it to get a lot more than a $50 gift card.

Considering how many guns could fall into that category in this city of 1.5 million people, $250,000 doesn’t seem like so much.

teebonicus  one minute, edited

1) The term "buy back" is bogus. One who has never owned something cannot buy it "back". 2) Laws affecting fundamental rights, even peripherally, cannot be justified by what they "may" accomplish. They must serve a "compelling government interest", be narrow in scope, and affect the exercise of the right as minimally as possible. But the prerequisite for even their consideration is that there must be solid evidence that if enacted they will achieve their purported purpose. So-called "buy back" events are none of the above.


Democrats wouldn't buy a clue if it was government subsidized.

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