Convincing those who try to blame tragedy on law-abiding gun owners that their “solutions” simply don’t work is a daunting, and usually unrewarding, task. The latest example of this sad fact comes out of Coral Springs, Florida. An organization called 4FNow—the 4F standing for “Fewer Firearms, Fewer Funerals”—is promoting a gun turn-in program this Saturday, September 15, as part of its response to the horrific crimes committed earlier this year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. And while this is a completely voluntary operation, it will do nothing to achieve their claimed goal of keeping “kids safe from gun violence.”
We’ve pointed out the ineffectiveness of these turn-in programs in the past, noting how they seem to be popular with some in the general public, but have not been shown to have any measurable impact on violent crime.
Even a study by the National Institute of Justice, undertaken during President Bill Clinton’s tenure, found turn-ins, or “buyback” programs, to have no merit. Published under the title “Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn’t, What’s Promising,” the NIJ study placed turn-ins/”buybacks” under the “What Doesn’t” heading, along with other “programs that we are reasonably certain from available evidence fail to prevent crime or reduce risk factors for crime….”
This particular turn-in will take place at Coral Springs City Hall, and has been coordinated with the Coral Springs Police Department. In other words, it would appear that government resources are being needlessly wasted on a program that will have no impact on public safety.
And if the failures of such programs to impact crime were not bad enough, there is the additional potential problem that a law-abiding gun owner may be encouraged to part with something of real value because they are fooled into believing the program is effective. The flyer for the program goes so far as to include a quote from Clyde Parry, the Coral Springs Chief of Police, which includes the encouragement for “anyone who may have inherited a firearm, has a gun that they no longer want or has a gun that they do not need to participate in our gun buyback program.”
The program will pay, apparently in Publix gift cards, “up to” $100 for shotguns or antique firearms, “up to” $150 for handguns and rifles, and “up to” $250 for semi-automatic rifles. The firearms must be operational to qualify.
Of course, if someone has “inherited” a firearm, it likely has value far exceeding these amounts. Unfortunately, it is unlikely it will be pointed out to someone turning in a family heirloom that they are handing over a firearm worth thousands of dollars for a few days’ worth of groceries.
It is sad to consider that this program, with government assistance, could trick a law-abiding citizen into trading something of real value for a mere pittance. It is also sad to realize that most who promote anti-gun programs such as these are often more interested in the publicity they bring than any real results. Finally, it is sad that, in this case, what is promoted as a “privately funded” program is simply wasting those private funds. That is, if the true goal is “to keep kids safe from gun violence.”