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house Bill H.R. 1279

Should the Feds Buy People’s Guns to Reduce Gun Ownership?

Argument in favor

Gun ownership in the U.S. is much higher than in any other country in the world. Offering cash for firearms buybacks will encourage some — though not all — gun owners to voluntarily sell their firearms back. This program would also benefit communities, as the debit cards from this program would be spent in local economies, serving as a mini stimulus.

04/25/2019
Yes. Gun buybacks with gun ownership restrictions laws is a good plan. Let’s do this.
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Kodiwodi's Opinion
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04/26/2019
I am a gun owner. This is a VOLUNTARY PROGRAM which does not bring up a Second Amendment issue. The program could be useful in ending child on child gun accidents, parent and child accidents, reduce the ability to obtain guns through robbery or burglary, remove some guns with crimes or bodies on them and help close cold cases. It might even put a dent in reducing school shootings by reducing access to guns availability in the home. I don’t believe a word the NRA spouts, In fact they cannot come to agreement among themselves and could soon be splitting into factions. A gun buyback program is a very good start to curbing this gun obsessed country’s need for an Arsenal and may stop death. The guns would need to be destroyed upon collection.
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burrkitty's Opinion
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04/26/2019
Buying is a useful and effective tool to fairly reduce the number of weapons on the street. Set a good price and people will happily sell them. Pawn shops and second hand shops are full of weapons that have been sold for quick cash. Buy up all that stock too. I’m sure the brokers would be happy to have a guaranteed buyer to get rid of stuff that won’t sell. Just make sure that the weapons are destroyed after the ATF gets them. Don’t resell them overseas. There’s no 2nd amendment conflict with this. People can sell if they want too. Perfect capitalism solution. If anything, the amount going to the program is far too low.
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Argument opposed

Since cash is fungible, a gun buyback program won’t necessarily decrease gun ownership or improve public safety. While the debit cards that people get from selling their guns back can’t be used to buy guns directly, the extra cash in sellers’ pockets from this program can be used to buy guns and ammunition.

JTJ's Opinion
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04/25/2019
No, quit spending money we don’t have. How do you rationalize this to reduce gun crimes anyway?
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Ian's Opinion
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04/26/2019
No. Spend the money on education. Better education reduces crime.
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Alex 's Opinion
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04/25/2019
SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. Supporters of this bill are advocates of denying written rights. This is disgusting and a perversion of our government.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedFebruary 14th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 1279?

This bill — the Safer Neighborhoods Gun Buyback Act of 2019 — would provide a two-year, $360 million grant allowing the Dept. of Justice’s (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Assistance to distribute smart debit cards to state and local governments and gun dealers, who could distribute the cards to gun owners in exchange for selling back their firearms.

This program’s debit cards would provide gun owners with funds 25% above their guns’ market values, based on an assessment conducted by the Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance. They would be valid for two years, and couldn’t be used to purchase firearms and ammunition or exchange for cash. If a recipient attempted to use the cards to purchase guns, the card would notify dealers. If they violate this provision of the law, both the purchaser and the dealer would be responsible for repaying the government in the amount of the gun sale, or else they could be imprisoned for up to two years.

Gun dealers would be required to deliver guns and ammunition collected through this program to states, local governments or the ATF no later than 60 days after their receipt. They would not be allowed to resell the guns. Firearms turned in through this program would be run through local law enforcement databases to check for their use in crimes. Guns that aren’t flagged would be recycled.

Sales on individual firearms are expected to range from $40 to $400 depending on the firearms’ model, alterations, condition, and age.

Impact

Guns; gun owners; gun sellers; local government; ATF; states; DOJ; and the DOJ Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1279

$720.00 Million
A CBO cost estimate is unavailable. However, in 2013, the National Taxpayers Union Foundation estimated — based on the appropriations amounts in this bill’s language — that this bill would cost $360 million a year, coming out to $720 million over its two-year period.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress (and before that, the 113th and 114th Congresses) to provide an incentive for people to sell their firearms back through local programs funded by federal grants and subgrants:

“For far too long, Congress has been paralyzed by inaction on gun violence. On the one year anniversary of the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida, I decided to take action. Safer Neighborhoods is a proactive bill that will help end violence by getting guns off the streets. Gun buyback bills have been popular law enforcement and public safety tools across the country, but the money just hasn’t been there for a widespread program. Safer Neighborhoods will allow communities across the country to create gun buyback programs and stimulate their local economies. Safer Neighborhoods is a win for everyone. People who want to safely get rid of their firearms will be able to do so. They’ll then spend money in their communities, which will help out local businesses. There will be fewer guns in circulation, which will help reduce crime. And law enforcement will have another tool to identify firearms used in crimes. It’s time that Congress takes action. Although no single policy will solve gun violence in the United States, Safer Neighborhoods is a step in the right direction.”

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has criticized state-level gun buyback programs. In August 2017, it called New Jersey’s gun buyback program, which took in nearly 5,000 guns, as “just smoke, mirrors and feel-good puffery.” The NRA argued that gun buyback programs don’t reduce violent crime, since the guns that are turned in are overwhelmingly heirloom rifles, shotguns specifically designed for hunting, and collectibles:

“Here’s the truth about gun turn-in programs in general. They are nothing more than feel-good projects used by cynical politicians to make their constituents believe they are doing something about violent crime. And judging by all the media hype the New Jersey turn-in received, promoters can probably consider their mission accomplished. Yet studies done by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research have shown that buyback programs have little impact on preventing gun violence. Politicians are well aware of that fact… Here’s the cold, hard truth about the New Jersey gun ‘buyback.’ Destroying that heirloom .22 rifle given up by an 80-year-old grandfather who is short on groceries doesn’t have any effect on violent crime. Melting down a grandmother’s historic break-open revolver that would be a welcome addition to many gun collections doesn’t stop one gang member from gunning down a rival gang member in a drug-related turf war. Cutting up a Remington 700 deer rifle that could have been used by a law-abiding sportsman to put meat on the table for his family is so far removed from the issue of violent crime it’s impossible to even draw a line between the two. And giving $100 for a handgun to a young mother who needs the money for back-to-school clothing for her children won’t help her protect herself and those same kids when an intruder kicks down her door in the middle of the night. The basis for New Jersey’s gun buyback can be boiled down into four simple words—all guns are bad. Otherwise, why would turn-in promoters celebrate every gun they destroy? Yet in the real world, guns are used for a wide variety of positive reasons far, far more often than they are used in the commission of crime. Gun-hating politicians who ignore that fact and pretend that taking guns from law-abiding Americans—whether compensated or not—reduces violent crime should be called out for their deceptive practices at every turn.”

Writing in the National Review, Charles C.W. Cooke points out that this program may not actually reduce gun ownership, since it’d merely serve to free people’s money up to buy more guns:

“Were I so minded, I’d just use the money on the debit card to pay for the things I have to buy anyway, and then buy all my guns back with the money in my bank account that I hadn’t had to spend.”

Writing about this issue in Forbes, Tim Worstall, a Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London, adds:

“Whether a gun buyback is a good idea or not is none of my business, not my remit. The entire subject of guns isn't my subject at all. Yet there's an obvious logical problem here, which is that money is fungible, as above. So, I sell to the government, collect my 25% premium, then go and buy some more guns… [T]he money I would have spent upon booze, granola and bacon can now be spent on guns and the government's money on the card can be spent upon booze, granola and bacon. Because money is fungible. It's just not going to work because the authors of this bill have ignored that most basic point about why we use money in the first place. Because one piece of it, one note, or one debit card, is substitutable for any other note (of the same denomination) or any other card (charged with the same amount). So banning people from using one piece of money to buy guns makes absolutely no difference whatsoever.”

This bill has 63 bipartisan cosponsors, including 62 Democrats and one Republican, in the 116th Congress. Last Congress, it had 36 Democratic cosponsors and didn’t receive a committee vote. Rep. Payne, Jr. first introduced this bill into the 113th Congress in February 2013. At that time, it had four Democratic cosponsors and didn’t receive a committee vote.

This bill has the support of the Newtown Action Alliance.


Of NoteBy every estimate, the U.S. is the global leader in civilian gun ownership, with 120 firearms per 100 residents. Yemen — the second ranked country — has about 50 firearms per 100 residents; while Finland, one of the European countries with the most guns per person, as well as compulsory military service for all men over the age of 18, has a firearms ownership rate of 30 per 100 residents.

Approximately 30,000 men, women, and children die from gun violence in the U.S. every year. In 2016, there were 37,200 gun-related deaths in the U.S. — the second-highest number worldwide. The firearms death rate in the U.S. ranked 20th globally, at 10.6 per 100,000 deaths. From January through October 2018, the U.S. had 47,220 gun incidents, resulting in 11,984 deaths. That figure breaks down to 157 incidents and 40 deaths a day, not including 22,000 suicides in the same period (Americans make up one third of global gun suicides). Of the total fatalities, 548 were children and 2,321 were teenagers.

The average American has a roughly one-in-315 lifetime chance of dying from gun violence. While this figure seems high, it’s worth noting that after adjusting for population differences, many other developed countries — foremost of them Norway, Serbia, and France — have worse problems with mass public shootings than the U.S. From 2009-2015, the European Union had 27% more casualties per capita from mass public shootings than the U.S. However, with these odds, Americans are more likely to die from gun violence than the combined risks of drowning, fire and smoke, stabbing, choking on food, airplane crashes, animal attacks, and natural disasters.

Media:

AKA

Safer Neighborhoods Gun Buyback Act of 2019

Official Title

To authorize the Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance to make grants to States, units of local government, and gun dealers to conduct gun buyback programs, and for other purposes.

    Yes. Gun buybacks with gun ownership restrictions laws is a good plan. Let’s do this.
    Like (80)
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    No, quit spending money we don’t have. How do you rationalize this to reduce gun crimes anyway?
    Like (173)
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    Share
    No. Spend the money on education. Better education reduces crime.
    Like (132)
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    SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. Supporters of this bill are advocates of denying written rights. This is disgusting and a perversion of our government.
    Like (119)
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    Absolutely not. Congress seems to think that “government” has money. It doesn’t. The fact is, government robs citizens through taxation and monetary inflation via central banking. Worse still, it accumulates debts and interest which citizens are expected to pay. It’s not only irresponsible, it’s criminal. It needs to stop! The reprobates in congress need to be impeached and tried for violating the oath of office if not for treason.
    Like (73)
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    Our Tax Dollars must never be used to deny a Citizen of his/her rights. Buying guns is another ploy to rob America of her rights.
    Like (63)
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    Here we go again with the anti gun wack jobs. To all the uninformed idiots, we have a constitutional right to bear arms for just this reason. It keeps dishonest politicians from thinking they can eradicate our constitution. The lefties and their hidden agenda is obviously to convert our government type to socialism and eventually communism. The right to bear arms allows patriotic citizens to quell such uprisings if need be. Having lived in the Democrap run BS State of Illinois it’s been proven that when law abiding citizens have their guns taken away then only criminals carry guns. The criminal element loves it when they know someone living in Chicago can’t defend themselves with lethal force as they break into your home. The past criminal governors and mayors of Illinois have made sure criminals have free reign to harm/kill citizens and assassinate police officers and firemen. I’m glad I moved to Florida! Chicago and Detroit are proof why Democrats have no clue how to run a city let alone a country. MAGA!!! Build the wall ASAP!
    Like (55)
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    Why in the world would anyone think that reducing gun ownership is a good idea? The fact of the matter is that as gun ownership and concealed carry has increased over the decades, violent crime has declined. More guns, less crime! Gun-buy-backs have been abysmal failures: people trade in old and or broken guns, take the money and upgrade to a new gun. The junk guns that people sell to the taxpayer (the actual payee) is amazing.
    Like (52)
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    NO. 2nd Amendment!!!! Another Scam to disarm law abiding citizens by the DNC. #walkaway.
    Like (36)
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    I am a gun owner. This is a VOLUNTARY PROGRAM which does not bring up a Second Amendment issue. The program could be useful in ending child on child gun accidents, parent and child accidents, reduce the ability to obtain guns through robbery or burglary, remove some guns with crimes or bodies on them and help close cold cases. It might even put a dent in reducing school shootings by reducing access to guns availability in the home. I don’t believe a word the NRA spouts, In fact they cannot come to agreement among themselves and could soon be splitting into factions. A gun buyback program is a very good start to curbing this gun obsessed country’s need for an Arsenal and may stop death. The guns would need to be destroyed upon collection.
    Like (34)
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    This is one of the stupidest ideas I've ever read. I must add that this would be akin to someone turning their car into the government because someone else drove drunk and killed someone. It literally makes no sense and would-in no way-change the outcome of any mass murder event. If someone is intent on killing another human being (or beings), they will do it. Cane killed Abel with a rock.
    Like (32)
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    Buying is a useful and effective tool to fairly reduce the number of weapons on the street. Set a good price and people will happily sell them. Pawn shops and second hand shops are full of weapons that have been sold for quick cash. Buy up all that stock too. I’m sure the brokers would be happy to have a guaranteed buyer to get rid of stuff that won’t sell. Just make sure that the weapons are destroyed after the ATF gets them. Don’t resell them overseas. There’s no 2nd amendment conflict with this. People can sell if they want too. Perfect capitalism solution. If anything, the amount going to the program is far too low.
    Like (24)
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    I’m sorry but you can’t fix stupid. The gun wackos would just look to their gun god for bigger and better guns. The new fix all. I own guns myself but the last thing that I would ever want to use them for is kill. This new right wing Militia things anyone who disagrees with them should be shot. That’s downright crazy dangerous.
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    The criminal is never going to sell his gun to the government. I can’t imagine that if someone owns a gun who didn’t want it any more hasn’t sold it already. The people that loves to target practice and hunt wouldn’t sell our guns anyway. I worry that if the government eventually got rid of all the guns from the general population, they could do anything they wanted. History has taught us that.
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    No. As a responsible gun owner.. they can’t afford my guns.
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    Never.
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    I might have guessed who presented this Bill a person who does not work for living. No real idea of who and how people get illegal guns. Do not use my tax dollars for something this ignorant.
    Like (18)
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    A stupid waste of tax dollars. You really think criminals will turn in their guns for cash? What will keep criminals from using that money to buy a better gun? This is a stupid politically correct showboating stunt.
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    Keep your hands off my guns and God given rights which were secured with blood in battle. You want a civil war just try to take away our guns and confiscate them , see what that gets you. #MAGA
    Like (16)
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    Criminals won’t sell their guns. At least not to the government. Law abiding citizens should keep their guns. It’s suspicious when government wants to remove guns from its citizens. We have the right to bear arms for our protection from criminals and an out of control government!
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