A gun buyback program for New York state was rolled out Saturday with all the pomp and self-congratulation typical of such useless and misguided efforts.
Let me be clear: It’s a stupid idea.
Here are the specifics.
The tried-and-failed gun buyback concept has been spiffed up and rereleased in an effort nominally overseen by the attorney general. In various events in various cities across the state, people will be encouraged to turn their guns in to the government.
In exchange, they will be given gift cards and debit cards. Different types of guns will merit different amounts of money. Anything on Andrew Cuomo’s very long assault-weapon list, for example, gets $100. A handgun is $75, rifles and shotguns are $50, and non-functioning guns are $25.
The taxpayers have been hit for $100,000 to cover the money, and there will be additional administrative costs.
No questions will be asked. The guns will be accepted, the money will be doled out, and the guns will be destroyed.
This is all being done in the name of fighting “gun crime.”
And it is all an asinine idea.
And a rip off that seems likely to particularly victimize the poor and racial minorities.
It’s all based on the premise that there is something inherently evil about guns, and that the problem with violence in urban America is the darned Second Amendment. Somehow, guns drive people to do bad things and it is in society’s best interest if the government gathers up all the guns and destroys them.
All that, of course, is crap.
As poor Abel, who lived in a gun-free zone, taught us, you don’t need a gun to commit violence. It’s not what’s in your hand, it’s what’s in your heart. And innumerable humans have fallen at the hand of other humans, without recourse to gunpowder.
Another preposterous aspect of this new state initiative is that we have years of experience with gun buybacks to demonstrate that they are meaningless in the fight against crime and serve no purpose other than bringing publicity to whoever put on the buyback.
Which might explain the attorney general’s interest.
So, they’re built upon a false premise and they don’t work.
They’re also a rip off.
They are a clear example of the government using taxpayer money to dupe ignorant people into selling their freedom for a mess of pottage. They are also an example of the government tricking ignorant people into surrendering valuable personal property for pennies on the dollar.
Because those inducements aren’t crap.
Compared to the market value of almost all firearms these days, the amounts being offered are not just a pittance, they are an insult.
And a theft.
Before I go on, let me differentiate between two things – legal guns and illegal guns.
Illegal guns are stolen firearms, or firearms that are in the possession of someone who can’t legally possess them – like an ex-con or an insane person. Those guns can – and should – be turned in any time. If you possess an illegal gun, immediately call 9-1-1 and have an officer come out and take it.
If, however, you possess a legal gun – the firearm is yours and it is not banned in any way and you are not disqualified from owning a firearm – you are an absolute, fire-breathing, total idiot if you take it to the state’s new buyback.
Because you’re getting ripped off.
Because of the gun-banning spirit of bot the Obama and Cuomo administrations, there is a high level of anxiety in the gun-owning community. Among other things, this has put pressure on people to buy firearms. Many people feel that if they’re every going to own a gun, they better get it now while they can. Get while the getting is good, is the saying.
That consumer demand has created big pressure on gun prices. Big demand and limited supply mean this is a very good time to be selling a gun.
But not for a token gift card.
If you legally own a gun, and you don’t want it anymore, you should sell it on the gun market instead of turn it in at the state’s buyback.
What is the gun market?
Well, an auction or a gun store. Personally, my preference in recent years has been gun auctions. I have attended a few gun auctions and I have seen the demand, and what that has done to prices, and what that can mean for sellers.
How do you find a good gun auction? Google “New York gun auction” and find the one closest to you.
Or call the gun shops in your area and see if they are buying, or if they will sell for you on consignment.
It’s all legal, it’s done every day, and it allows you to pass your guns on to others who will respect them and legally possess them, while making you a lot of money.
But it doesn’t have to be very much to blow the state program out of the water.
For example, if you owned an assault weapon that the state would give you $100 for, I’d be surprised if you couldn’t sell that legally for at least 10 times that much. Granted, with the new Cuomo gun ban, you might need to sell it to someone outside New York, but there are plenty of buyers.
And while the state will give you a $75 gift card for a handgun, if you sell that to another law-abiding citizen, it’s quite possible that you could get several hundred dollars for it.
Those $50 rifles and shotguns? They likewise could easily go for several hundred dollars.
What the state is paying is obscene.
It’s almost theft.
And it seems targeted at those who don’t know better, and at those in lower-income, minority-heavy urban neighborhoods. That might be a generalization, but I’ve never seen a gun buyback program in an affluent white suburb. Nor has there ever been one in my quiet country town.
No, these rip offs are targeted in neighborhoods where poverty and minorities are clustered.
So it’s primarily poor people and minority people who are going to be disarmed and ripped off.
And neither thing is good.
Gun buybacks are media stunts, meant to garner publicity. This buyback is no exception.
But it’s something more.
It’s a theft.
And anybody who buys into it is going to get ripped off.