Solano County law enforcement will offer a gun buyback from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Solano County Fairgrounds at 900 Fairgrounds Drive in Vallejo. This comes on the heels of buybacks in Los Angeles and Oakland that netted more than 2,600 firearms.
Put your unwanted, unloaded guns in the trunk of your car and bring them in to exchange for gift cards.
I used to question the validity of gun-buyback programs. Criminals certainly aren’t going to turn in their weapons for gift cards. Plus, gun buybacks usually result in broken guns and rusty rifles being turned in. What good is it to get a bunch of old guns from law-abiding citizens?
But that misses the point of gun buybacks and the purpose they serve. Gun-buyback programs usually have a learning curve.
For instance, at Saturday’s event, the guns must be in working condition. Some gun-buyback programs are handgun-only or offer more for handguns since they are the guns used in most gun crime. Also, as in Saturday’s event, so-called assault rifles receive more money.
Still, criminals aren’t going to be motivated to turn in their weapons. But in my view, the value of a gun buyback is that it gets guns in risky situations off the street.
My dad had an old .22 rifle that he never used. It just sat in the corner of my parents’ closet year after year. Little did he and my mother know that when they were out, my brother Orvis would sneak the rifle out. When I got older, I, too, would sneak the rifle out and go out toward Rio Vista or to an old illegal dumpsite in Rockville and fire the rifle with friends.
That old gun should’ve never been left unsecured with five boys in the house. I can only imagine that many other people have old guns like that: rifles, shotguns and handguns in closets and garages just sitting around waiting to be discovered by curious kids. And tragedies happen.
Or those guns can be stolen. Guns are one of the priority items burglars seek. That old gun that you keep in a shoebox in the closet could end up being held in someone’s face during a robbery or worse, killing someone.
Getting rid of that old, unused gun might prevent a suicide. In 2010, while 11,078 people were murdered with firearms, 19,392 people took their lives with guns.
Still, we must be realistic. We’re not going to have the kind of impact Australia had with its buyback. After a horrific mass shooting, the Australian government bought back more than 650,000 guns at market value. But the Aussies also banned semiautomatic firearms and the buyback was mandatory. The country saw a huge drop in its homicide rate after the buyback.
That’s not going to happen here because, (A) no one is advocating banning semiautomatic weapons, (B) we couldn’t afford to buy back 300 million guns at market value and (C) a mandatory buyback is never going to get off the ground in America.
So no, this event Saturday and the ones like it across the country aren’t going to stop school or workplace shootings. But a voluntary buyback just might remove that gun that an 8-year-old was going to find in his parents’ room and kill his little sister. That unused revolver in the bottom drawer in the bedroom that’s turned in at the buyback won’t be there when that teen breaks in while you’re at work and rifles the dresser.
In that way, removing these guns serves an important purpose. Call 648-4447 for more information on Saturday’s gun buyback. Peace.
Kelvin Wade is a proud gun owner. Reach him at email@example.com.