In the wake of recent gun massacres, such as the one at Sandy Hook, law
enforcement agencies across the nation are offering gun buyback programs.
In Florida, many law enforcement agencies across the state are participating
in these programs.
U.S. Rep Ted Deutch from Florida’s 21st Congressional District introduced
the Buyback Our Safety Act, which is a $15 million national gun buyback
program that would grant money to local law enforcement agencies that
would pay those residents who turned in their guns.
A firearm buyback in Miami in January exchanged 129 guns for gift certificates
to Walmart and Winn-Dixie.
This week in Hillsborough, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
on Saturday, held a buyback program at five different locations. Deputies
collected over 2500 firearms, which included eleven stolen guns and hundreds
of illegal weapons. The department ran out of money before the day was
through and handed out vouchers which can be exchanged for money on February
9-10 at the same five locations.
The sheriff’s office spokesman said the goal for the buyback was
to “get weapons off the street and out of the wrong hands.”
Do gun buyback programs work? According to one law enforcement official,
no they do not.
Sheriff Grady Judd doesn’t think the buyback programs are worth the
effort. Although the programs do remove guns from the hands of children
or prevents those guns from being stolen, these are not the firearms that
are used to commit violent crimes in our communities.
Another skeptic of the gun buyback program, Florida State University criminologist
Gary Kleck, stated that his research discovered gun buybacks collect “mostly
unused firearms from nonviolent people, dousing advocate’s hopes
that violent offenders will surrender guns seen as dangerous to the public.”
Kleck also stated that he believes the gun buyback programs are “more
about offering easy political solutions to complicated problems and less
about tackling gun crime.”