Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced a $250,000 gun buyback program to help get guns off the streets, and one pro-gun group is promising to take full advantage of the program.
The program functions on a no-questions-asked basis. Any gun that is handed over is exchanged for a $100 MasterCard gift card.
Executive director of the pro-gun organization Guns Save Life John Boch said, “We will be delighted to transact business once more with do-gooders in Chicago.”
Guns Save Life has taken advantage of such programs in the past. In 2012, the organization participated in a similar gun buyback program also in Chicago. The group turned in about 60 guns, the majority of which were heavily rusted and broken down.
For each gun they turned in, the organization received a $100 gift card.
The group used the gift cards to purchase new guns and ammunition for a National Rifle Association youth camp.
Meanwhile, firearm dealers also took advantage of the program. They wisely handed over weapons worth less than $100 in exchange for the more valuable gift cards.
Chicago officials quickly accused Guns Save Life of abusing the program, but the group responded by saying they were just following the rules.
For the latest program, Boch promises that his organization will once again bring around 60 guns to exchange for gift cards. He says that the money will be put to good use for Guns Save Life.
In 2012, the Chicago Police Department collected nearly 5,500 guns. It is unknown how many of the guns were actually operable.
This year, the department hopes to take 2,500 guns off the streets. This time, officers plan to inspect the guns in order to determine if they are indeed functional.
The Chicago Police Department believes that taking the guns off of the street can help to reduce violence.
Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department Garry McCarthy supported the program by saying, “We get the parents and grandparents, we get the older brothers turning in the guns, so they’re actually taking the guns away from the kids who would be using them and giving them to us and in that case, you just can’t deny taking an assault rifle away from a gang banger is a good idea.”
However, some studies have argued against the effectiveness of such programs.
A professor at Rutgers University and the leader of a 2013 study regarding gun buyback programs Anthony Braga said, “The small scale of these programs makes it difficult to generate the desired effects on the availability of guns to criminals and others. As such, it is not surprising that impact evaluations have failed to find any link between gun buyback programs and subsequent decreases in gun violence.”
While some people debate the effectiveness of gun buyback programs, you can be sure that some gun groups will take advantage of them while they are still around.