Tags: Gun | Buybacks | Backfire

Gun Buybacks Backfire

Thursday, 23 November 2000 12:00 AM

According to Fox News:

Even though crime is down nationally, more and more communities across America are turning to buying back guns for food or money, a practice that got its start when crime was on the rise in the early 1990s.

This spring, the Department of Housing and Urban Development launched "BuyBack America" in 84 communities. Since its inception in April, it has removed more than 22,600 firearms.

So what's wrong with the idea?

Critics such as said David Kennedy, a senior researcher at Harvard University's Kennedy School program in criminal justice, argue the buyback programs are a waste of time and money.

"They do very little good," Kennedy says. "The pool of guns that get turned in in buybacks are simply not the same guns that would otherwise have been used in crime.

"If you look at the people who are turning in firearms, they are consistently the least crime-prone: older people and women. Younger people and folks who are at high risk for offending don't [participate] for the most part."

He said that many who turn in guns still have other weapons at home and often use the money from the buyback to purchase a better gun.

Kennedy likened buyback programs to "the toxic-waste pickup day or the Christmas-tree pickup day" rather than to a crime deterrent, because criminals usually aren't the ones lining up to cash in.

Michael Romero, a research associate at the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis, said that "the guns that are turned in for these programs may not resemble the guns that are frequently used in crimes."

Supporters of buybacks acknowledge there is little direct correlation between collecting guns and reducing criminal use of guns.

But they argue that any progress toward reducing the number of guns available for criminal use is a plus.

Where buyback programs do seem to have positive effects there is usually more to them than the acquisition of weapons.

For example, while a Pittsburgh program was collecting more than 4,000 firearms, the number of gunshot deaths fell significantly, although no direct link could be established.

What may have given the Pittsburgh program some effectiveness was that it went beyond the actual gun purchase to include community, religious and political leaders in an outreach effort.

It involved school sessions similar to the National Rifle Association's Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program, and the coalition also distributed gun locks.

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According to Fox News: Even though crime is down nationally, more and more communities across America are turning to buying back guns for food or money, a practice that got its start when crime was on the rise in the early 1990s. This spring, the Department of Housing and...
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2000-00-23
Thursday, 23 November 2000 12:00 AM
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