Minneapolis had to end its gun buyback program after quickly going through $25,000 in what critics have charged is a futile gesture. Some 150 firearms were collected before the organizers ran out of Visa gift cards. Some of the weapons were homemade and the sellers boasted of securing windfalls. Putting such subterfuge aside, the question is whether these buy back programs really make a material difference. Recently, a PEW study showed that 44 percent of households now have guns. While these programs offer politicians significant benefits, it is hard to see how they seriously reduce gun violence given the massive body of weapons in the country.
There is an interesting debate over whether gun ownership is actually shrinking despite reports that gun background checks and sales are up.
The two Minneapolis locations collected about 150 firearms Saturday and some sellers said that they sold old guns to buy new ones.
The question is whether such programs truly serve the public interest or political interests.