Many municipalities use gun buybacks, but do they work? Here’s one city’s recent experience.
On September 13, 2014, the Toledo Ohio Police Department conducted a gun buyback program from 10 am to 4 pm at the People’s Missionary Baptist Church on Heston Street in Toledo.
They offered $50 cash vouchers per gun with a two gun limit. This year, approximately 80 guns were exchanged.
Is that a success?
Normally, most buybacks will pay out for anything that even resembles a gun: pellet guns, BB guns, starter pistols and even paintball markers.
In this case, the PD said they would only pay out if the guns were operable firearms.
Sergeant Joe Hefferman of the Toledo Police department says this is not an attempt to confiscate guns, just a way to try to get them out of the hands of children and criminals. According to Toledo News Now, Sergeant Hefferman is quoted saying:
“Because a lot of people inherit guns,” said Hefferman. “Maybe they had guns they used to go hunting with or whatever the case may be, they don’t do that anymore. And they are nervous about where that gun is going to end up and this is a nice safe way for them to get that gun out of their homes if they don’t want it anymore.”
Do buybacks work?
Whether or not this or other buybacks really work depends on what the intent is. Time and time again, these events are held by police departments, anti-gun groups, or even city workers, to get guns “off the streets and out of criminals hands.”
And yet, the only guns that are being brought in are ones that don’t work or are just sitting in someone’s closet or attic. You rarely see criminals bringing guns to these events.
Offering only $50 per gun and a max of two guns for $100 doesn’t seem like a lot. If people were worried about them being safe and getting rid of them, they can take them to a gun or pawn shop.
However it boils it out, gun buybacks, as they are designed for the most part, don’t work. They are not truly removing guns from the streets, if that’s the definition proponents are going to give it.
Guns simply are not being turned in by those who wold use them improperly. There ought to be a better way to remove firearms from the hands of people who abuse them or use them for harm, but it hasn’t been perfected. yet.
But, does such a perfect method even exist?