Polsby on Gun Buy-Back Programs

Gun buy-back programs, which seem to have proliferated since the Newtown shootings, may result in the exchange of some weapons for relatively small sums of money, but critics question their overall effectiveness. 

In an April article in The Economist, Law School Dean Daniel Polsby points out that criminals may be less willing than law-abiding citizens to turn in guns for the amounts offered at buy-back events. 

"There are good reasons to believe mischief-makers value guns more than people who want to buy them for self-defense," Polsby says, "So it's utterly silly."

Others add that gun buy-backs fail to cut gun violence because they remove only a relatively small number of weapons, many of them old and unused, from the communities promoting the events.

Gun control: Money talks, The Economist, April 27, 2013.

"America's smallest state held a gun buy-back day on April 6th that netted 186 firearms--97 shotguns and rifles and 89 handguns--collected anonymously from owners who were compensated with gift cards valued at $50 to $200, depending on the make and condition of their guns. Several companies, including SIMS Metal Management, a recycler, paid for the event, and the guns were to be melted down. Angel Taveras, the mayor of Providence, said such events were "one way for local governments to remove unwanted firearms from our streets.