Ladies and gentlemen, gun buybacks are stupid.
They are the ultimate expression of throwing away money at a problem, compounded with a fiscal stinginess. It has gotten so bad at this point that I actively encourage profiteering at the expense of the buyback in order to discourage the otherwise total waste of the efforts. Someone should benefit from it, the community certainly doesn’t.
I have heard rumors that the site will no longer be accepting magazines since they would be overpaying for them and sellers would be using the money to go buy more, something I advocated for myself on social media.
But that admission, the unwillingness to pay above competitive market values for firearms, is the ultimate evidence that these gestures are nonsense incarnate. $350 for an AR type firearm is somewhere between 5% and 50% of its open market value. It’s legal open market value, we aren’t touching upon what someone will pay to illegally acquire something. The buyback is unwilling to go 1:1 value on even the lowest end rifles, who on earth do they believe is turning these firearms in? What do they feel they are accomplishing?
“The time is always right to do what is right.”– MLK. The poster quotes.
But apparently only if it is shallow, easy, and cheap. This is the weakest of the ‘do somethings’ that could be organized. There is nothing in this ‘Day of Peace’ that speaks about outreach to the most disaffected community members, nor about amnesty for criminal offenses other than firearm possession at the event itself, nor of almost any other community building and engagement activity.
So what possible engagement can they expect? Are they seriously looking to tackle disarming organized crime with a couple hundred bucks? Are they hoping that someone who may hypothetically become violent in the future will disarm now and not possess another method at the future hypothetical time of violence?
Gun buybacks operate on the “any engagement is good engagement” principle, and that is naïve. The belief that any gun that is taken “off the street” is good, is asinine. It also not so subtly implies guns are bad in and of themselves, a projectionist attitude of no value. These aren’t guns taken “off the streets” anyway, they were rotting in basements or attics somewhere, forgotten by their current stewards until they became of modest perceived value. Or they are profiteered by enterprising individuals who took advantage of the payout rules. Or perhaps they were stolen from a lawful owner and ‘bought back,’ making the buyback complicit an illegal arms fence scheme with built in amnesty.
These are not the armature of the criminal class, not unless such an item has outlived its usefulness anyway. They are not the armature of the distrustful and suspicious ‘prepper,’ who the media loves to demonize as all being one step shy of a mass shooting. For that matter, they are not the armature of the motivated, unhinged, or both mass killer because either meticulously planning and forethought went into the attack or spontaneity invited use of a weapon of convenience, too include an accessible firearm.
Legality is hardly a factor, as misuse of a firearm to further a crime and mass murder are both illegal and carry strong penalties.
Gun control, gun buybacks, and all the ineffectual efforts short of a totalitarian and devastating campaign against private arms will all fall short and ultimately do little of value and much to harm. They will not influence the homicide rate the way the national quality of life, of satisfaction and stress levels, and the stability both social and fiscal will.
A gun buyback would never stand a snowball’s chance in hell of disarming the shooter in Colorado, Christchurch, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Orlando, Fort Hood, or anywhere else where the abhorrent display of the human capacity for violence attacked our “safe” first world sensibilities.
That won’t stop the efforts to feel safe though. Because feelings trump reality, right? My truth instead of the truth. Not that we should discard perspective simply because it is perspective, that would be just as silly, but we must temper perspective with fact if we want to continue to make progress. In order to make the 21st Century more peaceable than the 20th, to make the 2020’s more peaceable than the 2010’s, and the 2030’s more peaceable still, we need to place perspectives and objective truths into their proper places.
If we do not, we just keep pissing into the wind and wondering why we’re wet. Burning money for the shallow optics of ‘progress’ while ignoring the inconvenient realities that this is hard. That people are complex. That respecting human rights is dangerous, but that limiting them is even more so.
“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” -Benjamin Franklin.