I haven't done this in awhile...
A political rant.
OK, so, I'm watching the news earlier to keep track of the weather situation when I hear a story about Gun Buyback Programs in Homestead and the City of Pittsburgh.
Alright, I understand the premise of these buyback programs. They're attempts to get money into the hands of some needy families while trying to reduce gun crime, and possibly protect children from accidental shootings, by offering cash or retail gift cards to anyone who turns in a gun. And while I will say this is a somewhat admirable aspiration, I have to question the utility of these programs to actually affect real change. But before I get into why I believe that, I want to discuss the anti-gun slant of the story itself.
The opening statement of the story told me to beware of what was really being said. The bleach, blond anchor began by saying "There are over a hundred guns in safer hands this morning." That tells me that whoever wrote the copy for this particular story obviously has an agenda to push.
That opening statement implies two things that aren't necessarily true.
1) That firearms, in the hands of common citizens, are somehow detrimental to public safety.
2) That firearms in the hands of authorities like police, or the organizations that sponsor these buyback programs, are somehow less likely to become a hazard to public safety.
I don't like the first assumption because it is based upon the notion that gun crimes are committed by lawful gun owners, when statistics show that the overwhelming majority of gun crimes are a result of illegally acquired firearms. And that makes this program seem a lot like a "voluntary confiscation" to me.
Now, I'm really ticked off by the second assumption because it implies that some government agency is more trustworthy with my personal protection than I am. I'm sorry to say this, but I think I know what kind of protection I need in my neighborhood more than some bureaucrat in DC. Besides, I'd be willing to bet that the person who wrote the story is just far enough to the left to believe that Bush and Cheney have had us living under martial law, or in some police state, since 9/11 (which, incidentally, if it were true, this story would've never made it past the administration's censors). Kinda makes ya wonder why they would want to trust any government agency.
But back to my biggest concern about this story. I doubt that they're doing much to help the families who have turned in guns, because the program is quite stingy with what they're paying out. According to the news story, the buyback program pays $25 for rifles and shotguns and $50 for handguns. Yes, I understand the reason why handguns are worth more - because of the likelyhood that a handgun will be used in a crime. Not so much when it comes to a rifle or shotgun because of their conspicuous size (and yet so many laws are written to curb the purchase of rifles because they look
like assault weapons - but that's a rant for another day
It would seem to me that if these people and organizations were really concerned with helping the needy families, they'd want them to get top dollar for their firearms. And what better way to encourage people to turn in an unwanted firearm than to offer a fair market price for it? If these programs really wanted to help the needy families out, they'd bring in collectors and firearms dealers to appraise the guns before offering a flat-rate.
The reason why I say this is because there was a video clip showing many of the guns that have been turned in. And while I'm no gun expert, I know enough about guns to tell you that the vast majority of the guns on the tables were worth a lot more than the $25-$50 that was being paid for them. In fact, several of the rifles that I saw would be quite valuable to most collectors - as in, worth a couple hundred. And I think that kinda cash would go a lot further to help a family out with their Christmas than the pitance that's being offered by the buyback program.
So, my take on the whole thing:
It's just a push by people who don't like guns, who don't understand the Second Ammendment, who don't trust their fellow man to act in accordance with the laws of our society, to take guns away from lawful gun owners through a misguided appeal to the needy, and to our compassionate nature during the Christmas season. Otherwise, the buyback programs would invite the dealers and collectors to take part in this, for the sake of the needy. Instead, I see this as one more attempt to convince the non-gun owning public that guns are bad, and gun owners are either bloodthirsty criminals or ignorant, red-neck, morons who like to shoot at anything that moves.
Well, I hate to say this, but I don't fit into either of those groups. And I don't need your money or your gift cards. But if I did, I know where not
to go to get my money's worth. Maybe I'd trust the buyback programs more if they gave the needy they claim to be helping the same consideration that I have as an informed citizen.
Labels: Holiday Spirit, I'm just saying, My life, Politics, Rant