December 26, 2015
Congressman Donald M. Payne Jr. (D-N.J.-10), has recently reintroduced “The Safer Neighborhoods Gun Buyback Act” (pdf). Academics have routinely labeled such measures as ineffective at fighting crime. Perhaps the most famous of these is Alan Binder of Freakonomics fame:
When it comes to gun buybacks, both the theory and the data could not be clearer in showing that they don’t work. The only guns that get turned in are ones that people put little value on anyway. There is no impact on crime. On the positive side, the “cash for clunkers” program is more attractive than the gun buyback program because, as long as they are being driven, old cars pollute, whereas old guns just sit there.
Reading this article at New Jersey TV online, I thought that a new twist was being tried on this tired old scheme. Congressman Payne said that the program was aimed at the guns most used in crime, and that they were using ATF data to determine what the 10 guns most used in crime were. From njtvonline.org:
Payne: What it does is it allows the Department of Justice to secure a $360 million grant in order to buyback old guns, get guns off the street and incentivizw getting these guns back out of the hands of people that might not need to have them.
Williams: My impression from looking at gun buyback research is that very often it doesn’t work because the guns being brought back are great grandpa’s rifle that hasn’t been fired in 50 years. Are those the kind of guns you need to get off the streets?
Payne: No, actually we’ve identified through the ATF the 10 most used guns in street crimes. We have incentivized return of those guns by up to 25 percent over the market value of the gun. You would receive a debit card where once you turn in the gun. You get a debit card and that can be used for anything. You can’t get cash for it and you can’t use it to purchase guns. If they were tried to use in that manner there’s a possibility of a two year jail sentence, and that goes along with using it illegally. So, 25 percent over the retail cost of the gun and we think that is a great incentive in order to bring them back.
This was interesting information. I was curious as to what guns the ATF had determined were the 10 most used in crime, so I read the actual bill to find out. I worried about having to trudge through dozens or hundreds of pages of legalese to worry out the facts; but such was not the case. The bill is a bit more than a page long.
I could not find anything in the bill about any particular model of gun, other than the ATF is supposed to publish the “market value” of gun models so that the people that are buying the guns to be turned in to be destroyed, will know how to calculate the 125% of market value they are to pay people who turn in the guns. Too bad. I hoped there might actually be some interesting information in the bill.
The bill has little or no chance of passing in a Republican controlled House, and it is the epitome of irresponsible legislation. Paying 125% of “market value” for an item is a quick way to go bankrupt. It simply means that people would bring every gun that they did not have an emotional attachment to, and make a quick 25% profit, then buy more new. Arizona had a similar program for alternative fuel vehicles. In some cases, the State paid more than half the cost of the vehicle. It almost bankrupted the State before it was halted.
I do not know why Congressman Payne felt impelled to prevaricate about the guns being affected by this bill. Maybe he wasn’t worried because he knew it has no chance of passage, at least at present.
It is unlikely that the error will cost him anything. Donald M. Payne, Jr. inherited the majority minority district in 2012 from his father, Donald M. Payne. He was was elected, in November of 2012, after his father’s death in March of 2012. It is a very safe Democrat seat, in one of the most anti-Second Amendment states in the nation.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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