History reveals the stupidity of gun buyback programs

When anti-gun laws fail to gain ground, gun grabbers have to get creative and try new tactics to rid the world of guns. One of the most idiotic techniques is gun buyback programs—that is, paying people to give up their guns.

Gun buyback programs first gained steam in the US after Australia responded to its 1996 Port Arthur mass shooting with a large-scale compensated confiscation program. Authorities paid civilians to relinquish their self-loading rifles, self-loading shotguns, and pump-action shotguns. The seizure included around 650,000 firearms.

Less guns floating around meant less crime, right? Wrong.

As Reason.com reports, “Suicide rates did not fall. Homicides continued a modest decline; taking into account the one-time effect of the Port Arthur massacre itself, the share of murders committed with firearms declined sharply. Other violent crime, such as armed robbery, continued to increase, but again with fewer incidents that involved firearms.” And, to make matters worse, it ended up creating a black market for guns.

Despite the utter failure of this legislation (not to mention the financial cost), anti-gun politicians like Hillary Clinton point to it as a possible solution to America’s gun violence.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced last October that Chicago would pay gun owners $100 each to turn in their guns. If all of the funds are used, this program will cost taxpayers an estimated $250,000. With no evidence pointing to the success of any previous gun buyback programs, it seems like this money might have been better invested in inner city schools or other at-risk programs.

If this wasn’t absurd enough, Fox 59 reported recently that Donald Dancy, the owner of D&C Pizza in Indianapolis, is offering customers a free extra large pizza if they dispose of their gun. Dancy says he plans to hold them in a safe place until the police can come pick them up.

Imagine that: a $20 pizza for your $500 handgun. What a deal!

The same article also recalls the failure of similar, privately-conducted gun buyback programs. Bishop Damon Roach of First Christian Baptist Church worked with the Marion County Sheriff’s Department in 2013 and 2014 to collect illegal guns. His church used donations to pay people up to $600 to turn in their guns. His church was vandalized and set on fire in retaliation.

So much for eliminating violence.

Mike Scott, a former police chief and director of the Center for Problem Oriented Policing, highlighted some key reasons why gun buyback programs backfire in a recent article for the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

Pointing to a 2013 analysis of studies done over the years on gun buyback programs, Scott noted that recovered firearms were “disproportionately old, broken, of low caliber and ammunition capacity, and differed from the firearms most frequently used in crime.” Many who turned in firearms were “middle-aged gun owners and not older adolescents and young adults, who are at highest risk for involvement in criminal activity.”

These programs try to encourage gangbangers and other violent criminals to give up their weapons with no questions asked. However, this means that they can discard evidence of a recent crime, and they can use the money obtained from selling an old gun to buy a new one. (Perhaps this is why Mr. Dancy was offering pizza instead.)

Gun buyback programs are yet another way for gun grabbers to feel good about themselves, and they do absolutely nothing to stop gun violence. Gun owners could argue that such programs are better than alternative means of taking away guns—like legislating them away—but when programs only seem to help the perpetrators of gun violence and disarm potential victims, the problem of gun violence only gets worse, and no amount of free pizza is going to solve it.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.