The Mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut has secured nearly $100,000 for a gun buyback program that will launch on Friday, making it the city’s largest-ever attempt to collect and destroy firearms.
Bridgeport is just under 20 miles from Newtown, Connecticut, where a shooting claimed the lives of 27 people just last week. Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch said he was launching the buyback to avoid situations like the one in Newtown:
“Following last week’s tragedy, it has become a national priority to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals,” Finch said. “Chief Gaudett and I are encouraging city residents to turn in their guns so they don’t fall into the wrong person’s hands.”
Police said they would offer $200 for a working handgun, and people turning in rifles would get $75.
Police said any weapon determined to be an assault-type rifle would be eligible for a higher rate of remuneration.
Similar gun buybacks are happening across the country in the coming days. Los Angeles will host one next week, Lansing, Michigan will run its own soon, and a New Jersey town is matching dollars given in gun buybacks with donations to the victims of the shooting in Connecticut. New York City, Camden, New Jersey, Baltimore, and San Francisco have already run buyback days in response to the shooting.
But while the measure helps to get guns off of the streets, it is certainly not the most effective method of stopping gun violence or catching criminals, since oftentimes the guns are turned in by law-abiding citizens with broken firearms, and not by criminals. An LA Times op-ed points out that, “A 2004 report by the National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, concluded that ‘the theory underlying gun buyback programs is badly flawed, and the empirical evidence demonstrates the ineffectiveness of these programs.’”