January 27, 2013

It'll Never Work!

There are strong arguments against conducting gun buybacks:

1) That the people turning in their guns are more likely to be model owners, and thus are probably the safest people to own them;

2) The guns turned in are junk that are nearly unusable any way;

3) It encourages people to steal guns and have a no-questions-asked point of sale;

4) Buying back guns is like buying books to burn - it only encourages producers.

These are fairly reasonable at first glance, but at second glance are rather easily refuted.

The first point isn't an issue, what with those people knowing what value their guns have to them.  If they don't think the guns are worth keeping, why not get a bit of money for them without the risk of possibly selling them to people who may not be very safe with them?

Second, they actually aren't junk, or not often any way.  Buybacks are for useable guns with people who can tell managing the payouts, although sometimes programs will include a price for "scrap" guns.

For the third, thieves generally don't target guns: they find them during a burglary and take them coincidentally.  That being said, over 1700 guns have been reported stolen in Seattle since 2008, which says nothing about how many were stolen and not reported.

Finally, who's going to buy them?  the people turning in their guns are not interested in replacing them, and the small amount of money offered is far below market value.  They could get a much better price selling them privately or trading them in at a dealers'.

And all of these points could be seen at Seattle's gun buy-back that went on today.  There are some pretty incredible aspects to the story, from the six hours planned being reduced to three after overwhelming response; to the weapons handed over (including three "street sweeper" semi-automatic shotguns); to the private buyers trying to get the people in line to sell them the guns rather than turn them in to be destroyed.  Oh, yeah: it's legal to sell your gun on the street as a private sale.  You know that "gun show loophole" people talk about closing?  That's it.

The amazing and rather gratifying thing is how few people bothered to sell their guns to the private buyers: they were there to have their excess guns destroyed.  Many people simply handed them over for free when the nearly $120,000 in private donations ran out.

It'll be interesting to see what happens next.  Especially if, as they say, the responsible people are the ones handing in their guns.  Will that leave these idiots as the majority?

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posted by Thursday at 12:51 a.m.

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