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And the Purpose of Gun Buybacks Is … What?

Los Angeles becomes the latest to disarm its law-abiding citizens and gloat about it.

by
Clayton E. Cramer

Bio

May 24, 2009 - 12:30 am
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The article acknowledges that gun buybacks have been widely criticized as publicity stunts that only take guns from law-abiding adults. The explanation from officials for why this is still a good idea just makes my head ache:

But L.A. police and city officials say every gun turned in Saturday and destroyed is one that no longer can be stolen and used in a crime or contribute to an accident.

I see. We have two choices here:

Option A: Have sworn police officers spend their time (presumably, while on the clock) giving out $130,200 in privately contributed funds to get law-abiding citizens to turn in their guns so that they can’t be stolen and used in crimes by other parties.

Option B: Persuade the people who contributed that money to spend it hiring another police officer for the LAPD and have that officer do nothing but investigate burglaries, locate criminals, and send them to prison.

Have the police in Los Angeles really reached the point where option A makes more sense?

And the “no questions asked” idiocy means that if someone does have a stolen gun, they no longer have to risk fencing it. The police will pay you $100 for it, no questions asked! I don’t know what a fence would typically pay for a stolen handgun, but I’m guessing that $100 is on the high side.

The madness continues:

The LAPD said it will destroy all of the guns collected Saturday, even ones as potentially valuable as a World War I-era chrome-plated Luger that showed up in Northridge.

Let’s see, what else could they do with such a collector’s piece? They could sell it to a collector, who would lock it in a safe where its risk of being stolen and used in a crime is almost zero — and probably raise many thousands of dollars to spend on gun buybacks — or even, you know, use it for what used to be considered police work: trying to arrest and convict the criminals that commit felonies. Or they could find a museum that would want this rare and perhaps desirable historical artifact. But that would require something other than the kneejerk insanity which is so common in the city where I used to live.

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Clayton E. Cramer teaches history at the College of Western Idaho. His most recent book is My Brother Ron: A Personal and Social History of the Deinstitutionalization of the Mentally Ill (2012). He is raising capital for a feature film about the Oberlin Rescue of 1858.
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