And the Purpose of Gun Buybacks Is ... What?

The May 11 issue of the Los Angeles Daily News has one of those news stories that remind me of the story of the guy sent to drain the swamp who has gotten so lost in other issues that he has forgotten his original purpose:

A Los Angeles citywide gun buyback program was called an unexpected success after nearly 1,700 firearms were collected Saturday from owners who'd been promised anonymity, "no questions asked" and -- very important -- $100 gift cards. ...

City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel emphasized the good news, noting the removal from L.A. homes of hundreds of guns that "will be melted down and no longer can be used in a crime."

The haul was reported to include more than 100 assault weapons, which are illegal for general possession in California.

No, that's not true. As long as the weapon was registered with the California Department of Justice by the appropriate date, assault weapons are completely legal to possess. But the bigger problem is the "no longer can be used in a crime" part. And that would be because criminals are turning in guns for the lure of the $100 gift card? An armed robber prepared to take some risks can probably make that much in one liquor store robbery -- and certainly in two. More importantly, police were very clear about who was turning in guns. LAPD Lt. Stephen Carmona is quoted as saying:

"It's a pretty good-looking group of citizens," he said. "We didn't expect any gangsters."

Detective Bill Flannery, busy identifying the guns collected in Canoga Park, said he was surprised by "the number of guns that little old ladies are bringing in."

So, how will having little old ladies turn in guns reduce crime? At least when I lived in Los Angeles, no one I knew lived in fear of the AARP posse. (Perhaps city officials have watched Clint Eastwood's new movie, Gran Torino, one too many times.)