The Sacramento Police Department (SPD) on Saturday held a ‘Gas for Guns Gun Buyback” for community members.
Local and national media hailed it as a success, as the organizers ran out of gas cards in the first hour of the event that was scheduled to last five.
SPD said on social media that they took in 134 firearms. Each one was exchanged for a $50 gas card.
At least one “assault weapon” was turned in, “numerous” unfinished frames (“ghost guns”) and “multiple other illegally configured firearms” were taken in, said the department.
No questions were asked and no IDs were required.
“As a department we will continue to use innovative ideas to increase the safety of our community, said Chief Kathy Lester.
“I truly believe violent crime prevention is a shared responsibility and today’s overwhelming community participation is evidence of the success we can achieve together,” she added.
The notion that violent criminals use these events to disarm themselves is not supported by the evidence, as GunsAmerica has previously reported.
In fact, it wasn’t even supported by SPD’s own survey results of Saturday’s participants.
Per SPD’s post on Facebook, “Community members most commonly cited a lack of experience or knowledge with firearms, lack of knowledge of the legality of the firearms, or an inability to safely store the firearms as the main reasons for participating in the exchange.”
The individuals who showed up at the event were not drug dealers nor gangsters — the driving force behind much of the violence in the city — they were largely folks unfamiliar with firearms who sought to exchange their unwanted junk for some free fuel.
See, as with most “buybacks” (buyback is a misnomer because the guns never originally belonged to the gov’t or the police), it appears that the majority of the firearms pulled “off the streets” were outright broken, poorly functioning, or inexpensive plinking and hunting firearms that are rarely used in crimes, e.g. single-action revolvers and bolt-guns chambered in 22LR.
As a result, the city should not expect to see any drop in crime. At all. What it may see following this publicity stunt is an actual increase in crime.
That’s right, these events often backfire (forgive the pun), as the National Bureau of Economic Research explained in a 2021 study examining them. The criminal element is often emboldened when it feels as though law-abiding citizens are at a disadvantage or less likely to defend themselves.
To give an example, in the video embedded above, one participant said he was trading in a gun because he worries about it “falling into the wrong hands” and, “if our house got broken into and it got stolen.”
Basically, he’s broadcasting the fact that he is no longer armed and is now defenseless in the face of an intruder. Not smart.
“Buybacks” don’t reduce crime nor do they reduce accidental shootings, nor do they increase public safety. But they are a good way to garner media attention if you’re a politician or police chief.
is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.