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The City of New Haven held the first of two planned gun "buyback" events last weekend, with the next one scheduled for July 12. Connecticut's New Haven Register trumpeted the event approvingly in a thinly-disguised advocacy piece presented as news rather than as an editorial. You can tell it was important to them, because they'd published another "report" a few days earlier, and what was essentially a free advertisement
With all that hoopla, including a professionally prepared poster costing who knows how much to create, produce and distribute, it might be fair to question how that expense, the cost of gift cards ($75 for handguns, rifles and shotguns/ $150 for "assault weapons") along with the necessary staffing, recordkeeping and planned physical destruction of what gets turned in, can be justified especially considering only 73 guns reportedly were. Fortunately, there was an $8,000 grant from Yale-New Haven Hospital to cover costs, and if that medical leviathan misses the dough from their billions in revenues, all they need do is order up a round of tests or two for one of the Obamacare-covered illegal aliens to make up the shortfall.
Besides, there's a ready answer for wasting money that could be put to better uses if one doesn't mind hackneyed clichés that have no possibility of ever being established as true.
"If one life is saved by this effort, it's worth it," Clifton Graves from the State Department of Youth Services gushed vacuously.
"I think it's wonderful," police Lt. Racheal Cain echoed in an obsequious endorsement sure to please her bosses. "Any way we can get guns off the street, it's going to reduce the potential violence."
Were they "on the street" in the first place, or is that a code phrase used by disarmers and enforcers to disparage guns in private hands? For that matter, how does one "buy back" something they never had claim to? No matter, there are Bunraku chants to be performed here, and without puppets, there would be no play.
"Any of those guns that were turned in today will never be used in another crime," police spokesman David Hartman added wooden-headedly, but on cue.
Perhaps, assuming there's no repeat of what happened in New York, where a junkie cop stole department weapons and gave them to his dealer in exchange for drugs (in an almost laugh-out-loud-funny aside, his lawyer blamed "the scourge of prescription drugs"!). Or in Alabama, where the sergeant in charge of the evidence room sold impounded guns (and you won't believe what he did after that.) Or the New Jersey police officer who ... Enough. You get the picture by now. These are the "Only Ones" supposedly trustworthy enough to be armed, at least according to "Monopoly of Violence" zealots.
Mayor Toni Harp
What more can be said about this latest fiasco in New Haven? We know that Mayor Toni Harp is part of Michael Bloomberg's coalition demanding guns they don't control be made illegal. We know that the promise of "No Questions Asked" means police can be used as fences to reward thieves for turning in stolen guns, or perhaps even as accomplices to assist in destroying evidence that could help solve crimes of violence.
We know that no less of an "authority" than the National Institute of Justice concluded, among other things, "Buybacks are ineffective unless massive and coupled with a ban ... Gun buybacks are ineffective as generally implemented ... The buybacks are too small to have an impact ... The guns turned in are at low risk of ever being used in a crime ... Replacement guns are easily acquired. Unless these three points are overcome, a gun buyback cannot be effective."
No matter, these people have political points to score and publicity to gain, no matter that they're actually endangering the public in the name of "common sense gun safety."
Anyone who knows the first thing about guns will tell you never to touch one unless you know what you're doing. Do the widows turning in a rusty clunker that's been in the closet for decades know Cooper's rules for how you treat a gun, where you point it, what's behind where you're pointing it and where your finger never ought to be until you're ready to fire? Does everyone hoping to get a gift card in exchange for proving themselves kapos of convenience know how to check the types of firearms they're turning in to see if they're unloaded, and to safely do that if they're not? Including checking for a round in the chamber instead of just relying on removing the magazine? Do they know how to safely and legally transport firearms, so if they happen to be stopped by police they're not in violation of the law before the promised amnesty comes into play? Do they know how to safely hand a gun over to another person?
Are those urging the ignorant and inexperienced to handle guns in public offering training, just to make sure?
Hey, no matter. Mayor Harp got her name in the paper along with the illusion that she's actually doing something constructive that will make a difference in reducing violent crime. The fawning Lt. Cain, Officer Hartman and Mr. Graves all scored career visibility and brownie points with their respective bureaucracies. And The Register once more proved itself a bastion for "progressive" journalism, which is sure to increase its professional standing and prestige.
Still, I can't help but wonder if the cops happen to bust any gang members on July 12, the date of the next event, if the bad guys won't be able to beat a weapon's rap by claiming they were on their way to the "buyback," and the rules for transporting guns were never made clear.
What? How else are we supposed to bring them in? We can't carry them? Yeah, sure, I'm a felon, but what happened to "No Questions Asked"?
David Codrea is a field editor at GUNS Magazine, penning their monthly "Rights Watch" column. He provides regular reporting and commentary at Gun Rights Examiner and blogs at The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance. David Codrea's Archive page.