This week's outrage comes to us from Buffalo, N.Y., where a group called "Fathers Armed Together to Help, Educate, Restore and Save" held a "gun" buyback program for kids. "FATHERS" offered pizza, dress shirts, notebooks and folders for kids who turned in Nerf guns and water pistols. Yes, toys. The group's theory is simple: indoctrinate the kids into thinking that guns are bad and should be feared and avoided, and crime will surely drop.
Leonard Lane, president of FATHERS said, "We want to put that fear back into our children, teaching them what guns can do, how they affect their community." He added, "We've got to be willing to exchange everything and anything to get guns off the street."
So, you take away toy guns, and the crime problem goes away? You've got to wonder at the naiveté of these folks. Turn-ins of real guns have been tried before, and they simply do not work. Time after time this misguided notion has been shown to not only fail, but to almost ensure that the law-abiding become victims.
Less than a month ago, we were assailed with images of mass riots in England, where gun laws are among the most restrictive in the world. Thugs visited destruction on the disarmed citizenry in the form of looting, violent assaults, robbery, and arson. London and other UK cities looked like war zones and residents were afraid to venture out, because the danger was very real. It was a haunting, disturbing vignette showing exactly what a disarmed country looks like. Panicked, defenseless law-abiding citizens were forced to flee their homes, while others watched as their businesses were destroyed. Compare this to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, when armed citizens were able to protect their lives, families, and property from looters and violent mobs.
Today FATHERS focuses its attention on Nerf guns and water pistols. Tomorrow, perhaps the group will go after baseball bats or plastic knives from fast-food meals. It doesn't matter; they are missing the point. The time is past due to face the facts. When law-abiding citizens are disarmed, society is not safer. Gun bans (and buybacks) do not reduce violent crime. The police will not always be there to protect you.
Thinking that scaring kids and gathering toy guns will somehow reduce crime is not only absurd, it's outrageous.