Monday, December 14, 2009

More Gun Buy Back Programs reports on a Worcester buy-back program which netted 85 guns.

In a program that Worcester doctors and police hope will reduce injuries from gun accidents, residents of that city can turn in guns today and next Saturday in exchange for gift cards.

The UMass Memorial Medical Center, in conjunction with the Worcester Police, is holding its eighth annual Goods for Guns buyback program. The program allows gun owners to relinquish their guns at the police station in exchange for Wal-Mart gift cards of up to $75.

The hope is to limit the accidents in which weapons kept for protection accidentally injure family members or friends. Dr. Michael Hirsh, the program's founder, said he sees the aftermath of such accidents in his role as chief of pediatric surgery and trauma care at the hospital.

Live5news reports on a similar program in Charleston South Carolina which took in 127 weapons.

North Charleston Police teamed up with Mt. Moriah Baptist Church and St. Matthews Baptist Church to collect 127 guns in a no-questions-asked gun buy-back Saturday.

"All of us have a right to bare arms in a legal way," A.D. Robinson Jr. of Mt Moriah Baptist Church said. "We don't want to take that right from anyone. These weapons that have been turned in is people that had them and didn't know what to do with them. They didn't know how to dispose of them."

Police destroyed all rifles, shotguns, pistols and other assault weapons they collected. In exchange for the guns they gave retail gift cards worth $100.

I still don't understand the passionate opposition to these initiatives on the part of pro-gun people. In both of these articles, the goal was to afford folks a legal way of disposing of weapons they don't want. Doesn't that make sense? Not everyone would feel comfortable throwing a gun in the river under cover of darkness to get rid of it.

I believe there's another hidden benefit to these programs. Some of the participants are probably surrendering guns that illegally belong to their sons or grandsons who are budding criminals. Naturally those young people can rearm themselves with little difficulty, but even temporarily disarming them has got to be a good thing.

So what's the problem with these programs? I don't buy that complaint that they cost too much taxpayer money. For these buy-backs we're talking nickels and dimes. I don't buy the complaint that they harvest only broken down worthless weapons. The picture from the Worcester police doesn't seem to contain rusty unserviceable guns. So what is it?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. Um, they take guns off the streets where they can be used by criminals. That's a bad thing!

    Heavy sarcasm, Heavy Sarcasm.

  2. I never gave much thought to the benfits of lack thereof of gun buybacks, but they never bothered me much either.

    What you call "opposition" by gunowner advocates seems more like "sneering" to me. It's when you try to keep guns from gunowner advocates who actually want them that you see REAL opposition.

  3. My main opposition is that they end up destroying a lot of guns that are of historical and collector interest, often because the person turning in the gun has no idea its value or history.

    I'd have far less of a problem if police screened the weapons turned in for rare and valuable pieces, and made sure those ended up in the hands of museums and collectors.

    Short of that, I don't really have a problem with these. I think they are useless, feel good programs, and a waste of police time and taxpayer money, but I don't consider them an infringement of the Constitution.

  4. The use of taxpayer money is my only objection to the programs as well. The money usually would be better server by putting more officers on the streets.

  5. Um, they take guns off the streets where they can be used by criminals. That's a bad thing!

    Riiight, because we all know that criminals can't wait to turn in their tool of the trade at the next buyback and instantly become upstanding members of society...

    I'm with Sebastian. They're not unconstitutional, but they are a waste of time, money, and resources. They're also a handy way for criminals to dispose of "hot" guns that have been used in a crime.

  6. I wish they would have a compensated confiscation near me. I've got a broken gun I want get rid of and i'd love to get rid of it. $75 would easily be 3 times what it's worth. And $75 would buy a lot of ammo.

  7. The guns shown in the Worcester bin is mostly crap. I"m not an expert at identification. I spotted at least 5 and probably 9 top-break revolvers--these are most likely pre-depression "Saturday night specials". Most of the semi-autos appear to be Jennings-family cast zinc cheapies that retail in the $100 range new. One of the boxes reads "Jennings").

    There are three that aren't immediately obvious as crap, although they might very well be crap on further examination.

    I suppose most of these will fire at least once, but I'd probably rather our criminal element be armed with this crap than half decent guns. A lot of them are probably almost as dangerous to shoot as they are to be shot at with.

    How do "no questions asked" buybacks deal with stolen or crime guns? Is it right for police to also serve as fences for stolen goods? Should the police officially advocate a particular political agenda?

    Would it be a good idea for the police to have a narcotics buyback? How is that different?

  8. Sevesteen, I don't think you can compare guns to narcotics, nor would I think the needle exchange programs they sometimes have could in any way be compared to gun buy back programs.

    Thanks for confirming what the contents of that container held: mainly junk guns. Of course that doesn't damage my theory that some of those junk guns really belonged to the kids and grandkids of the folks who turned them in.