A group of Atlanta ministers are trying to raise $100,000 for a gun buyback. They say it will make the community safer- but will it? Do gun buybacks even work?
What do the numbers say?
This is a Reality Check you won’t see anywhere else.
“There’s a number of guns out there that lawless people want to get rid of but don’t know how to. We want to provide that way.”
A group of local ministers, the Fulton County sheriff’s department and the Atlanta Police Department are trying to raise $100,000 to get what they call dangerous guns off the streets of Atlanta. They’re hoping to get one to three thousand guns turned in.
The gun buyback program will act as a sort of amnesty for any and all weapons that are brought in. No questions about where the came from, what it was used for, just bring it in and get cash.
“No questions asked. It’s a day of amnesty for those who bring their weapons. The greater, what’s of greater importance is the weapon is removed from homes it can be stolen from and areas they can be used for crimes.”
But here’s the truth about gun buyback programs, because there have been a number of independent follow-up studies to determine whether or not these programs actually work.
Studies that were focused on buyback programs in Seattle, Sacramento, St. Louis and in Boston, and those studies determined that following gun buyback programs, there is no evidence that the programs actually reduce crime.
In Seattle, researchers also checked coroners’ records and hospital admission data in the six months following a gun buyback program in that city. And what was found: there was no evidence of an effect on firearms-related deaths or injuries.
So why is that true? Take a look at these guns from another local buyback. Most of them are rifles. The vast majority of these guns are not handguns, the kind of weapon most often used in a crime.
And once again, the stats bear that out. For instance, typically the people who take part in these gun buyback programs are statistically not the ones responsible for gun crimes. Most often those who take part are elderly or middle-aged people.
Also, many of the participants who bring in a gun actually have another gun at home that they intend to keep. In fact, in Sacramento of those surveyed, 59 percent of those taking part in a gun buyback say that is true of them. In Seattle, 62 percent said it was true. In St. Louis, it was true of 66 percent of participants.
And get this, in St. Louis, 14 percent of those surveyed went on to say that they planned to purchase a new gun within just one year.
So what you need to know is that while gun buybacks are well-intentioned, there is no evidence that they actually cut down on gun crime. The idea that street criminals and gang members are going to turn in their gun for just a little bit of cash or for a gift card is just not realistic.
That’s Reality Check. Let’s talk about it on Twitter.