Gun buyback program
A gun "buyback" program is a program instituted to purchase privately owned firearms. A "reward" is usually paid for these firearms. The goal, when purchasing is done by the police, is to reduce the number of firearms owned by civilians, and provide a process whereby civilians can sell their privately owned firearms to the government without risk of prosecution. In most cases, the agents purchasing the guns are local police when purchasing firearms for the government, although private civilians often set up their own "gun buybacks" down the street from the police-run "buybacks", while offering higher "rewards" for certain, more valuable, firearms.
In July 2007 Argentina imitated a national gun buyback program that ran until December 2008. Participation in the program was voluntary and anonymous. Individuals relieved between 100 to 450 pesos (or US$30 and US$145) per firearm depending on its type. All types of firearms were accepted including legal as well as illegal weapons. The 2007-2008 buyback collected a total of 104,782 firearms or around 7% of the county's estimated total number of firearms as well as 747,000 units of ammunition. Indications are that the buyback was successful in reducing the number of gun related deaths from accidents but has done little to reduce the number of gun related deaths in suicides, homicides and car thefts.
Unlike the voluntary buybacks in the United States, Australian "gun buybacks" of 1996 and 2003 were compulsory, compensated surrenders of particular types of firearms made illegal by new gun laws.
The 1996 "National Firearms Buyback Scheme" took 660,959 long guns, mostly semi-automatic rimfire rifles and shotguns as well as pump-action shotguns, and a smaller proportion of higher powered or military type semi-automatic rifles. Because the Australian Constitution requires that the Commonwealth may only take private property in return for "just compensation", the Government increased the Medicare Levy, from 1.5% to 1.7% of income, for one year to finance compensation. The "buyback" was predicted to cost A$500 million. The payments from the Commonwealth were conditional on the States and Territories introducing firearms laws and regulations consistent with the National Firearms Agreement, though some inconsistencies remain. No licences for self-defense are allowed under these laws.
The 2003 handgun "buyback" took about 50,000 licensed target pistols. New handgun laws made illegal target pistols of greater than .38 calibre and handguns with barrels less than 120mm (semi-automatic) or 100mm (revolvers) such as pocket pistols. As a result of consultation with Australian peak sporting groups an exception was granted for pistols greater than .38 calibre used for Handgun Metallic Silhouette and Western Action competitions, but not for the popular sport of IPSC.
In two gun buyback programs between 2003 and 2009, the Brazilian government collected and destroyed over 1.1 million guns. In 2004, the Brazilian government implemented a six-month national gun buyback program that met its stated objective of collecting 80,000 guns in less than three months. The government budgeted $3 million for the program, in which participants were given up to $100 per gun that they handed in.
Part of the 2004 buyback included strengthening gun regulations such as making it illegal to own unregistered firearms, carrying a gun outside of one's own home, raising the minimum age to own a gun to 25, and imposing new penalties on those that violate these laws. At least one study suggests "that the buyback program implemented in Brazil in 2004 has contributed to the observed reduction in firearm related mortality."
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2013)|
On December 15, 2012, an anonymous donor funded "gun buyback" events in Oakland and San Francisco, California. The events were advertised on television as anonymous "no questions asked" events. On a maximum of three guns per seller, people would receive $200 ($100 bills) for each firearm sold. Police announced all guns bought would be destroyed.
The "buyback" being held at the height of the holiday shopping season, turnout was significantly higher than estimated. This resulted in the police running out of cash with which to purchase guns early into the event. On the anonymous donor communicating provision of additional funds, police issued makeshift IOU slips.
Participation conditions included: proof of San Francisco residency, the gun must meet California's definition of a "firearm," and the gun had to be a working firearm (no dummy replicas, plastic BB or pellet guns, or guns clearly not in working condition because of missing parts required for operation, or antiques).
On entering the "buyback room" people were required to provide an electric bill, driver's license, or mail that proved an individual's San Francisco residency. (This was to prevent what had occurred in previous buybacks, where people from outside San Francisco drove in and received cash for junk guns.) To assure anonymity to sellers, the person checking ID sat at the entrance, looked at the residency proof, and s/he did not record or write down any information. Throughout the remaining process, a seller did not have to produce ID.
Each gun submitted for "buyback" was initially inspected to assure it was not loaded. Two officers then recorded serial numbers, if available (to keep inventory of guns being handed over to police). Officers then inspected the guns to assure they were in fact firearms and looked operational (some people in line had brought dusty, old pellet and BB guns. Although these looked real, they did not meet California's definition of a firearm).
At the end of a processing table, the participant received $200 cash ($100 bills) for each gun sold to the police.
Mid-way into the buying session, the police announced they had run out of cash to pay for additional firearms. A police officer spokesperson announced that people could go to the head of the line and donate guns without payment, or stay in line and receive an IOU, redeemable for cash on the announced date and time. One person donated his guns; the remaining people chose to stay in place, which had stretched to about 200 people in a long, twisty line. Anonymity was lost in the process when the police required ID to get an IOU, ID that will have to be shown to police to redeem the IOU for cash on December 22. The officer writing line items entries on the IOU record was observed writing the names of people, ID information, and which guns they turned in.
Over 700 guns were purchased between Oakland and San Francisco, including sellers getting an IOU.
There has been a "gun buyback" program in Los Angeles that offered prepaid cards (Visa or Ralphs) in exchange.
A Detroit church hosted a "gun buyback" event as part of the city police department's ongoing efforts to remove dangerous weapons from the streets. Guns were required to be unloaded. Up to $50 was paid for an operational weapon, up to $100 for two or more operational weapons and up to $100 for assault weapons.
Gun buybacks have been held in Tucson (one gun buyback in 2013) and Phoenix (three gun buybacks in 2013).
In 2013, House Bill 2455 was signed into law by Arizona Governor Janice Brewer. H.B. 2455 and Arizona Revised Statute 12-945 were enacted after lobbying by the National Rifle Association and other organizations and require that firearms seized by, surrendered to or acquired by law enforcement or other government agencies may not be destroyed. Firearms acquired through programs such as gun buybacks or seized in the course of a criminal investigation that are legal for private citizens to possess must be disposed of by sale to a federal firearms licensed dealer. These statutes have raised controversy, with opponents charging that the statutes will turn gun buybacks into recycling programs. Proponents of the measures point out that firearms purchased through private buyback programs may be destroyed.
- David Lenis, Lucas Ronconi, Ernesto Schargrodsky (September 27, 2010). "The Effect of the Argentine Gun Buy-Back Program on Crime and Violence". University of California at Berkeley. Retrieved 2013-05-22.
- "Brazil: Gun Buyback Campaign Begins". New York Times. May 6, 2011. Retrieved 2013-05-22.
- "Brazil gun buyback plan hits mark". BBC News. 11 September 2004. Retrieved 2013-05-22.
- City of Boston Police Department. "Aim For Peace" brochure
- AP (30 August 2012). "Catholic parish in Detroit set to host police-sponsored gun buyback event". Click on Detroit. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
- "Camden's record gun buyback". 19 December 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
§12-945 Arizona Revised Statutes 10. Do Gun Buybacks Save Lives? Evidence from Panel Data - Andrew Leigh http://andrewleigh.org/pdf/GunBuyback_Panel.pdf