SITREP: October 1999

By Dan Shea

On Friday, August 13, 1999 I was reading an article in the LA Times called The Reality of Weapons Buybacks by Joe Mozingo. There are several very interesting points in his story. He seems frustrated with the results that they have been getting- read on:

“They set out with boundless energy and a mission to get guns off their streets, where violence is so common that many can’t imagine a life without it. With the help of their history teacher, the students at El Sereno Middle School decided to do what fed-up communities across the nation have done for years. They raised money to buy back weapons, preferably from gang members and other people who shouldn’t have them. They hit the pavement in May, selling candy to neighbors in their Eastside community.

But they soon marched into a thicket of logistical snags, showing the profound difficulty people face in trying to get guns away from bad guys”.

“But after working out many details of how gun owners would relinquish their weapons—to police officers on the scene—the students said they ran into a state law that seems to defeat the purpose of the buyback. Police cannot take a gun, even one voluntarily handed over, without noting the owner’s name, address and phone number, officials said.

Although the reason for the law is to ensure that guns used in crimes can be traced, the students logically assume that no gang member or criminal would turn over their weapon under such circumstances.

This has been the key dilemma with buybacks since they first became popular in the United States a decade ago, said Luis Tolley, western director of the nonprofit organization Handgun Control.

“They’re not going to take guns away from hardened criminals,” Tolley said, citing the alleged gunman at the Jewish Community Center, Buford Oneal Furrow. But he said the buybacks can help educate people, and remove guns from some homes, preventing an argument from turning deadly.”

”Tolley praised the students, but said their real service “is going door-to-door and talking about having guns in the home,” he said. “If you measure these buybacks by the guns retrieved, it’s going to be a failure.”

We already know that gun “Buybacks” are a failure. Criminals don’t turn in their guns, honest people do. While the California law that prevented the “Buyback” from proceeding anonymously may have “Crimped the style” of the anti-gunners, it did pull just a little bit of the wool off of the wolf, so we could get another glimpse of what kind of animal it is. They don’t care at all about the criminals, they care about educating people that guns are “Bad”. People can’t control themselves, so we have to make sure they don’t have sharp objects around they can hurt each other with. It would appear that we all need to live in a fluffy world, cared for by the liberals, kept from harm by keeping us stupid and far away from anything that could possibly harm us.

Symbolism over substance. Why not punish the criminals? How about enforcing the laws we have? Here’s a thought- why not try educating people about the safe use and storage of firearms, like used to be done?

Someone help those kids start a rifle team.


This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V3N1 (October 1999)
and was posted online on December 18, 2015


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