Thursday, April 14, 2005

Gun Buy-Backs

Joan is questioning why her local cops are struggling to find funding for rifles. Why not issue the firearms brought in from gun buy-backs and taken as evidence from a crime?

Well it is a problem of performance and red tape.

Very few of the guns that come in through these buy back programs are reliable weapons. Many are grandpa's old shotgun/revolver/whatever that has been rusting in the attic for years. Others were pieces of crap right off the assembly line like the Cobra/Jennings/Bryco automatics. If someone is going to put the effort into buying and maintaining a quality firearm, it is doubtful they will part with it for $50 or $100. Put simply, they aren't up to police standards of reliability. Some are downright dangerous.

Evidence and buy back guns are also required to be destroyed. It is a condition of the buy-back program. The organizations that fund the buy backs don't want those guns used in crimes or going into police inventories to eventually be resold on the open market. Even now, a lot of people are lobbying city and state government to prevent cops from reselling their used service arms to raise money for new ones. The idea being that those guns could find their way into criminal hands and be used against their original owners. That is a major revenue stream for police and it is being destroyed because a few people are uncomfortable with it.

One thing to note, part of the reason those gun buy-backs are so "successful" is that they are often revenue streams for gangs to get rid of their old junk and buy better stuff. I've known more than one security guard who bought his coworkers cheap service revolvers off them for $50 (they were getting new guns) and then sold them to a buy-back for $100. This netted him several hundred bucks in net profit. The street value of stolen gun is almost certainly less than what the buy-back is paying. So it becomes a revenue stream for enterprising thugs. Not a particularly good idea.

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