Would You Support a National Gun Buyback Program?
Do you support a national gun buyback program?
by Countable | 8.7.19
What’s the story?
- Even if Congress passes some form of gun-control legislation, there are still an estimated 393 million firearms in the United States. Some, including presidential hopeful Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), have suggested a gun buyback program.
- The programs are designed to reduce the number of firearms by purchasing guns from private owners and, usually, destroying them.
- Whenever gun buybacks are discussed, Australia’s enactment of such a program is usually cited. After a mass shooting in 1996, Australia banned automatic and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns and introduced a national weapons buyback program.
- Between October 1996 and September 1997, Australia purchased about 650,000 firearms, or around 20% of the country's privately-owned guns.
- Research has found that in the seven years following Australia’s National Firearms Agreement (NFA), there was a 42% decrease in homicide rates and a 57% decrease in suicide rates.
- Harvard's David Hemenway and Mary Vriniotis, who led the research, explained the numbers in more detail:
"First, the drop in firearm deaths was largest among the type of firearms most affected by the buyback. Second, firearm deaths in states with higher buyback rates per capita fell proportionately more than in states with lower buyback rates."
- Some researchers, however, remain uncertain whether the decrease in homicides and suicides was a result of the buyback or part of an already-existing downward trend.
What about America?
- There have been a number of city-wide weapons buybacks in the last few decades.
- In 2006, the Boston Police Department offered a $200 gift card for each handgun. Around 1,000 guns were turned in. The number of shootings decreased by 14% in the year after the buyback and continued to decrease through 2010.
- However, as Newsweek explained, “Experience shows that some people will attempt to profit from gun buybacks by submitting inexpensive or broken firearms worth less than the cash incentive offered through the buyback.”
- And the Pew Research Center has found that around 70% of gun owners say they could never imagine themselves not owning some sort of firearm.
- Cost would also be an issue. Newsweek again: “Assuming a $50 per firearm incentive, reducing the U.S. gun stock by 1 percent would cost $196.5 million. Inevitably, only some of the guns purchased would have been used in future crimes.”
What do you think?
Would you support a gun buyback program? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.
(Photo Credit: Neon Tommy via Flickr)
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