Despite Ineffectiveness, Chicago Holds More “Buyback” Charades

by Vern Evans

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As most Truth About Guns readers are likely aware, so-called gun “buybacks” have proven ineffective at curtailing violent crime. But that doesn’t stop cities, counties and other government entities from continuing to hold these futile events.

Take Chicago, one of the most violent cities in the country, as an example. The Chicago Police Department recently held two such no-questions-asked events. The “buybacks” took in 229 firearms and 95 replica firearms for a whopping sum of $100 each. At that princely sum, it’s no wonder that the only people wanting to participate are little old ladies who have an old gun in the closet.

Before looking at how those “buybacks” and all others are simply a PR ploy, however, let’s first dispense with the whole notion of “buybacks.” Since the government never owned the firearms they are attempting to take possession of in the first place, “compensated confiscation” is a much better term for these proposals. Of course, that doesn’t sound quite as good on a big-city mayor’s resumé as a gun “buyback.”

Now, on to the good stuff. A May 2021 study titled “Have U.S. Gun Buybacks Misfired,” authored by Toshio Ferrazares, Joseph J. Sabia and D. Mark Anderson, and published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, concluded that Gun Buyback Programs (GBPs) have no measurable impact on reducing violent crime.

“Our findings provide compelling evidence that U.S. GBPs have not deterred gun crime, firearm-related homicides or firearm-related suicides in either the short- or longer-run,” the study concluded. “The precision of our estimates is such that, with 95 percent confidence, we can rule out gun-crime declines of greater than 1.3 percent in the 12 months immediately following a buyback. One or more years after a GBP is held, we can rule out declines of greater than 2.3 percent. Our general null findings are consistent with descriptive evidence that firearm buyback prices are set too low to appreciably reduce the local supply, most GBP participants are drawn from populations with relatively low crime risk, and guns bought back tend to be older and less functional than the average firearm.”

While that’s interesting, the study also revealed something more damning about such “buybacks.”

“Moreover, we find some evidence of a small, short-run increase in gun crime in the two months following a GBP,” the researchers wrote. “This result is consistent with the notion that GBPs primarily target low-risk firearms that are more likely to deter crime than be used in the commission of it and with the hypothesis that some criminals may be emboldened by the perception that victims will be less likely to defend themselves with deadly physical force.”

Now that the notion that such programs deter crime has been put to rest, you night wonder exactly why gun-ban advocates continue to participate in such a charade. The reason, of course, is that they think it makes them look good.

As we reported here back in March 2022, Joel Jones of the Hampton Roads Black Caucus was asked that question prior to that group’s “buyback.” His answer was telling.

“Regardless of what the statistics say, we want to put some attention and show that we care enough and make time to do the program,” Jones told

This whole notion of showing that they care keeps gun-ban advocates from focusing on the true cause of violent crime, namely violent criminals.  ButI guess working to arrest, try and jail violent criminals doesn’t say “we care” as much as buying worthless guns from citizens who were more likely to use them for self-defense than in criminal acts.

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