This week we read about the “overwhelming success” of the gun buy-back program in Columbus. It must be unclear to citizens besides myself what constitutes a “success” of this endeavor. Is it a “success” because the city exhausted $10,000 In such a short amount of time? Is It a “success” because certain individuals imagine this quest will erase opportunities for crimes to be committed against citizens? Who is to say some enterprising individual(s) won’t realize this is a great opportunity to increase their own cache right quick in order to have some merchandise to take to the “No Questions Asked” buy-back fair? We all know the “success” of this program is not because weapons were taken off the street. Has anyone found a study which proves such a program has any degree of positive impact on criminal activity? Assurance that weapons will be checked for whether or not they have been stolen (and then returned to their rightful owners) seems weak. Who is tasked with doing all this checking? Must be a new full-time job for someone. What happens to the operable weapons after the city has collected them? Is their plight dictated and/or detailed In the ordinance? Or are we not supposed to ask?
In my attempt to be very charitable to those who imagine paying a paltry price for pieces is somehow going to reduce criminal activity, then we should consider last week’s news. The next “buy-back” program should also include surrender of all belts (especially if they have a buckle attached) and golf clubs. In the future, we may have to add a few other common items to the list. So far, I can’t think of a way to turn in our hands without being completely uncivilized.
Surely it’s the items themselves that commit crimes and not the person wielding them.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.