Akron police chief: Background checks won't work to stop criminals, and "gun buybacks are a farce"

by Chad D. Baus

Last month, lost in the news media's attempts to blame law-abiding gun owners (and a rifle that wasn't even used) for a crazed man's attack on the Washington Navy Yard, came a report from the City of Akron, where Police Chief James Nice offered a very public explanation of why background checks, no matter how stringent, are never going to prevent criminals from obtaining them.

From the AkronNewsNow.com:

It's a weekly occurrence in Akron, several shootings for police to solve, all despite the police department's best efforts to get the guns off Akron streets.

The problem is frustrating for Akron Police Chief James Nice who says teens and young adults just break into homes and keep stealing more guns to shoot each other with. He doesn't think the justice system is doing enough to stop them.

Nice tells AkronNewsNow " Unfortunately nobody is putting these kids in jail, and right now if you're being arrested in Summit County for weapons under disability, or concealed carry, they're doing zero days in jail. I've been screaming about this. This is the problem."

Nice says Summit County judges are not always sentencing those convicted of weapons violations so they fear no consequences when they attempt to settle disputes with bullets.

If Toby Hoover, Michael Bloomberg, Diane Feinstein or any other gun ban extremist would like to explain to me how a background check is going to help stop repeat offenders who aren't being locked up from simply stealing the guns they use to inflict mayhem upon society, I'd love to hear from them.

Chief Nice wasn't finished. He also made clear that one of gun ban extremists' favorite press-grabbing tactics - so-called gun 'buybacks' - do absolutely nothing to get crime guns off of the streets.

Gun buy backs are a farce. The gang members, and people stealing guns are not bringing those in. Gun buy backs are bringing 70-year old shotguns from widows. They're bringing those in to sell," says Nice.

We've been saying that for years.

Gun "buyback" programs, misnamed because a government entity can't "buy back" something it never owned to begin with, have been proven to be a failure at preventing violent crime.

According to the federal government, gun 'buybacks' have "no effect" on preventing violent crimes. (Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn't, What's Promising, National Institute of Justice, July 1998)

"Buy backs" remove no more than 2% of the firearms within a community. And the firearms that are removed do not resemble guns used in crimes. "There has never been any effect on crime results seen." (Garen Wintemute, Violence Prevention Research Program, U.C., Davis, 1997)

Up to 62% of people trading in a firearm still have another at home, and 27% said they would or might buy another within a year. (Jon Vernick, John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, Sacramento and St. Louis studies )

More than 50% of the weapons bought via a gun buy-back program were over 15 years old, whereas almost half of firearms seized from juveniles are less than three years old. (District of Columbia buyback program, 1999)

According to a variety of sources, the actual effect is that gun buy-back programs:

  • Disarm future crime victims, creating new social costs
  • Give criminals an easy way to dispose of evidence
  • Are turned in by those least likely to commit crimes (the elderly, women, etc.)
  • Cheap guns are bought and sold back to the government for a profit
  • Cause guns to be stolen and sold to the police, creating more crime
  • Seldom return stolen guns to their rightful owners

"They do very little good. Guns arriving at buy backs are simply not the same guns that would otherwise have been used in crime. If you look at the people who are turning in firearms, they are consistently the least crime-prone [ed: least likely to commit crimes]: older people and women." (David Kennedy, Senior Researcher, Harvard University Kennedy School Program in Criminal Justice, in appearance on Fox News, November 22, 2000)

These are well-known facts, even among gun control advocates. Don't believe me? Consider this, from an internal Mayors Against Illegal Guns email obtained through a public records request to the City of Columbus Mayor's office:

"We don't like gun buybacks because you tend to get very old guns from non-offenders. Not the new crime guns that are the problem."

Janey Rountree
Special Counsel
Criminal Justice Coordinator's Office
Office of the Mayor of New York City

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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