Gun buyback program

Gun buyback program

A gun buyback program is a program instituted by a police department in a city where gun crime is on the rise, to turn in handguns or other kinds of weapons. A reward is usually posted for these weapons (e.g., gift cards). The phrase "Buy back" is borrowed from the financial industry. However, it is in this case a misnomer since the police (or government) cannot buy "back" something that it never owned in the first place.

In the United States


From July 12-14, 2006, the Boston Police Department offered US$200 Target gift cards in exchange for a handgun, with or without ammunition. Rifles and shotguns were accepted, but had no reward. []


By generating allowing people to sell back guns (at a price which is often above the street value of the weapon), such programs become candidate for the Peltzman Effect.Fact|date=May 2008 People now have an incentive to buy guns from dealers and then sell the to the city, pocketing the difference. In the end there are no fewer guns on the street but there is more money in the possession of criminals.

The phrases used to support these programs are also thought to be misleading. Since a firearm is sold from it's manufacturer to a Federal Firearms License holder (usually a retail sporting goods store) and then to the end consumer, the government cannot "buy back" what it never owned. Secondly, the phrase "getting guns off the streets" is also felt to be pejorative and misleading, since research has proven that the majority of firearms acquired through these programs are firearms legally owned by private citizens.


* City of Boston Police Department. [ "Aim For Peace" brochure] . Accessed June 17 2007

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