Gun control advocate Niki Watson received an unwelcome surprise when she learned that firearms she collected at a gun turn-in in Augusta, Ga. would be resold to law-abiding gun owners. According to the Augusta Chronicle, Watson said that the plan to sell the guns is a “slap to the face” and that “My whole objective was to get them off the streets.”
Watson didn’t understand Georgia law. SB 350, signed into effect by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal on May 3, 2012, mandates that law enforcement agencies sell seized or forfeited firearms to a dealer or, in the case of firearms reported as stolen, return the guns to their rightful owners. Because the guns are sold only to licensed dealers, purchasers are subject to a background check, of course.
The Chronicle notes that for two years, Watson handed over firearms collected at her turn-ins to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. However, when she learned that the Sheriff’s Office sells some of them to dealers, Watson made arrangements for her most recent haul to be destroyed.
Watson’s angst over the sale of the firearms following a background check reminds people that gun control supporters don’t simply want to prohibit the possession of firearms by criminals and other suspect classes of persons, they don’t want anyone to be able to buy a gun, period.
If helping her community is the goal, Watson shouldn’t be wasting her time with gun turn-ins. Even prominent gun control advocates say that the schemes serve no crime-fighting purpose. In a May 19, 2000, Washington Post article, ardent anti-gun researcher Garen Wintemute said, “The guns that are removed from the community (by turn-ins) do not resemble the guns used in crimes in that community. There has never been any effect on crime results seen.” Further, a July 1998 report from the Department of Justice’s National Institute for Justice, “Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn’t, What’s Promising,” listed gun “buyback” programs in the “What Doesn’t Work” category.
Of course, those who pout about firearms being sold to people who pass background checks are unlikely to let decades of failure stand in the way of their misguided mission.