Gun violence has been an undeniable point of contention in the United States for decades. In recent years, there have been more calls for harsher laws and background checks prior to purchasing a gun. However, an often overlooked way to reduce gun crime is through gun buyback programs.
What is a Gun Buyback Program?
A gun buyback program or a national gun buyback program is when governments offer cash or gift cards to gun owners in exchange for weapons such as assault rifles. These weapons are then turned in to the police. The idea behind these programs is that the government will motivate civilians to surrender their unneeded and unwanted firearms, thus reducing the number of guns on the streets and making communities safer.
Pros of Gun Buybacks
– Decreasing Gun Violence and Firearms on The Street
According to a 2019 study, these programs have resulted in the removal of tens of thousands of guns from cities around the country. By reducing the number of firearms available on the streets, this can help in decreasing violent crime and accidental shootings.
– Easier and Cost-Effective Gun Control
Another positive aspect of gun buybacks is that they can be easier and more cost-effective than other forms of gun control. Gun buyback programs don’t require any additional legislation or debate, so such programs can be implemented quickly. They also don’t involve the expense of enforcing stricter background checks or registering guns. This can be expensive for governments to implement and to enforce.
Cons of the Gun Buyback Program
– Old and Non-Functioning Guns: The Majority of Weapons Collected in Buybacks
One major downside to gun buyback programs is that they may not be effective in reducing overall gun violence as we may hope. According to a 2014 study, the majority of guns turned in at gun buybacks are old and non-functioning weapons. These programs will only truly be as effective as they can be once civilians began turning in unwanted, functioning firearms.
– Targeting the Wrong Population
The same study found that many of the weapons that were turned in came from people who weren’t likely to use them in a crime. This suggests that gun buybacks may not be targeting the population most likely to commit gun crimes.
– The High Cost of Gun Buyback Programs
Another con of these programs is the cost. According to a 2018 study, the cost of holding just one gun buyback program can range from $10,000 to $50,000. This cost can be a significant burden on governments, especially in cities and states with limited budgets.
Alternatives to Gun Buyback Programs
– Education and Awareness Programs
If gun buyback programs aren’t an effective way to reduce gun violence, what are some alternatives? One option is to focus on education and awareness programs. These programs are designed to teach people about the dangers of firearms and how to practice safe gun ownership through events such as the gun buyback event. They also give people access to resources that can help them better understand their rights and responsibilities when it comes to owning a firearm.
Another effective alternative is investing in community safety initiatives, such as providing resources to at-risk youth, creating safe spaces for youth in neighborhoods, and investing in mental health services. These types of initiatives help create a safer environment where people can thrive without the fear of gun violence or firearm homicides.
If you have unwanted weapons that you want to safely dispose of, feel free turn them over to Fifty50.
Our program Fifty50 Forever Home facilitates the graceful retirement and eventual destruction of unwanted weapons, without any inquiries or obligations, regardless of whether they are from a gun buyback, surrender, or any other circumstance. Contact us to find out more about it.