TAMPA-- In the grip of the, “Do something, even if it makes no sense!” hysteria that always follows soul-crushing events like Newtown, Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner is recommending the county start an annual gun buyback program. Terrific.
As a former police officer, Beckner should know that government gun buybacks tend to fetch in three kinds of weapons: (1) old clunkers that are of no use or risk to anyone -- sort of Tuesday night specials, (2) guns the seller has stolen for the purpose of selling it to the government, which will pay him more than he can get at Lucky Sid’s Pawn, and (3) guns owned by law-abiding citizens that would do no harm to anyone if they stayed in the desk drawer where they’ve been for years. No jurisdiction has ever been able to establish that gun buybacks, conducted at great expense to the local taxpayers, have lessened gun crime.
I’ve met and talked with Beckner. He doesn’t appear to be stupid. So the only explanation for the fool’s errand he is whooping up is that he wishes to appear to be doing something useful about a problem every voter is concerned about. But even if Hillsborough County depletes its treasury buying guns, local residents will be no safer for the exercise. If this comes about, Beckner, along with every commissioner who supports this crackpot scheme, should be charged either with weapons grade stupidity or aggravated charlatanism.