Would you spend $500 for a gun? It depends on the gun right? Let’s rephrase the question. Would you pay $500 for a gun, sight unseen, condition and working order unknown? Of course not, and to be fair, the City of Maryland didn’t either. However, $500 is what the math worked out to for a bunch of guns mostly from elderly widows, or guns with little actual value anyway.
Baltimore Maryland spent a reported $250,000 dollars to purchase over 500 unwanted guns in a “buyback” program. Buyback is an Orwellian propaganda term. You cannot buy back things you never owned in the first place. The Baltimore program was “successful” in that it collected over 500 firearms to be destroyed. It “worked” for two basic reasons.
First, the buyback offered more money than most of the guns were worth on the open market. Second, the state of Maryland has made it difficult to buy and sell guns legally and privately. There was little competition for the few guns brought in that were worth more than the government was offering. The inconvenience factor of finding a legal buyer, gave incentive to people who wanted to dispose of a gun.
Most of the guns turned in are those seldom used in crime. Paying $200 for semi-automatic .22 rifles that cost $99 and less when new (and are still widely available for less than $150) is stupid and counterproductive. One gun collector in a wheelchair brought in a rusty, old, bolt shotgun barreled action. It might be worth $10 at a gun show. He got $100.
People were paid $100 for revolvers that were turned in. Most of those pictured were worth $50 or less on the market. Several were inexpensive RG models that cost less than $30 when new. One 80-year-old woman brought in a revolver worth maybe $30. She will get $100 for it. Many of the people bringing in guns were older women who did not want to deal with the firearms. It is a common story. The husband dies, and the widow gets rid of the guns. Sometimes collections worth tens of thousands of dollars are given to police, simply to get rid of them.
Most of the guns were inexpensive, older .22 rifles and inexpensive old shotguns. Many of them seem of doubtful utility or reliability. The were likely hunting guns that belonged to the grandparents of the current Baltimore residents.
What does the City of Baltimore get for its quarter million dollar investment? Camera time on the news, and virtue signaling that “guns are bad.”
One woman was frank about her motivation in turning in her inexpensive 9mm. The woman is going to use the $200 to purchase a bigger, better gun.
The “buyback” paid out $25 for magazines that held more than 10 rounds for rifles, or 20 rounds for pistols. Few pistol magazines hold more than 20 rounds, and they are expensive. Many standard rifle magazines hold more than 10 rounds, and they are cheap. They can be had for $10-15, as low as $4.99 on the used and surplus market. The program would only pay for two magazines per person.
Numerous academics have pointed out how ineffective these programs are. From Freakonomics:
When it comes to gun buybacks, both the theory and the data could not be clearer in showing that they don’t work. The only guns that get turned in are ones that people put little value on anyway. There is no impact on crime. On the positive side, the “cash for clunkers” program is more attractive than the gun buyback program because, as long as they are being driven, old cars pollute, whereas old guns just sit there.
It seems unlikely the propaganda from the program will be effective.
How will future historians treat such programs. Will they see them as sacrificial rituals to the god of “Whirled Peas”? Some say it is better for politicians who want the population disarmed, to spend this money on foolish programs, than to be used on enforcement of gun bans. It probably does not matter. To the politicians, it is other people’s money, and they do not see it as running out.
Do you think gun buybacks work? What alternatives would you suggest? Share your answers in the comment section.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten
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Wish they had those where I live, I could unload a armload of relics I’ve used over the years to hone my gunsmithing skills, picking up clunkers at the gun shows for $20 and selling to “dum moms for a gun free whatever “ for $200 is a bang up profit margin!
One question I’ve always had is, who’s name is on the FFL for the city of Baltimore? Or, are they just violating Federal law as usual?
There was a local Tampa Bay area news story some time back, I saw on the tube ,of a widow bringing in her late Husbands war trophy Luger from WW2 , One of the respectable officers
there ,told her she might want to rethink turning it in as it was worth way more then the pair of tennis shoes they were going to give her , she took his advice
Mike Betts says
One Baltimore news outlet lauded the effort because it “got guns off the streets” as if they littered the streets and alleys like the considerable amount of trash which does. The people who live in Maryland outside of “Charm City” regard it as a tax-sucking money pit for reasons this folly makes painfully evident.
Mike V says
Similar story here in Dallas. A co-worker had an old pistol which was worn out, and she traded it in for a pair of good Cowboys tickets. She then scalped the tickets for $300 and used that to buy a new Ruger. Buy back programs are great when used properly (which is probably not how it was intended).
Who pays for gun buy backs. Can anyone guess where the money comes from? Those guns belong to each and everyone who works for a living and pays taxes. As far as I am concerned it is just another waste of tax payer money.
I saw on the news in Miami a gun but back that was right after the Stone man Douglas high school shooting by City Mayor Suarez he made it a point to show an AR15 that the city bought back for $50. I know no one in there right mind would sell it for that price so I guess it belongs to the police on duty as a propaganda tool for there disarming the public and making sheep of us all.
I do believe the Baltimore “buyback” had the requirement that any firearm, once brought into the venue, was not allowed to leave the building.
I would like to see the justification by LE for first, illegal detainment if they refused to allow you to leave with your property in hand, and second, outright theft if they confiscated a legally owned firearm without any due process or renumeration.
Just more Liberal stupidity. I’ve had the misfortune to have to travel into Baltimore many times for work, and the place is a typical urban, Liberal run cesspool. Gun “buy back” programs are always useless wastes of taxpayer money, but I know of several gun rights groups that have made a lot of money by going in and selling junk guns donated by members and using the money for positive gun rights purposes. Quite the irony.
Fred Brown says
I am a resident of the Great State of Maryland ( Eastern Shore, thankfully), and the City of Baltimore touts these “buybacks” as a shining example of “getting illegal guns off our streets and making our city safer”! Depending on how much money they can get from the state for these programs, they hold them two or three times a year, however, they never show the news cameras the junk they actually collect, only the nicer pieces and brag on the fact they are ” cleaning up our streets”! When they start collecting and jailing the thugs with the Uzis and the black market AKs and MAC 9s, THEN I would say they are cleaning up the streets, but the show they put on is just that, a put on !