The great Seattle gun buyback program was essentially worthless in removing "dangerous" weapons from society, but it did serve to teach essential truths about free enterprise and human behavior.
When the Seattle, Washington, gun buyback program was announced on January 8, King County Executive Dow Constantine claimed that removing guns from the streets would “certainly prevent ... senseless tragedies.” He didn't say how many tragedies might be prevented, but he certainly couldn't have predicted that the program would turn into a private gun show.
When the buyback started on Saturday morning, January 26, thousands of people showed up carrying weapons of every variety, which they planned to exchange for gift cards. But private gun buyers up also showed up, and they offered cash instead of gift cards and even provided donuts and other refreshments to attract sellers and displayed signs with messages such as “Fast cash for your gun” and “Want more than a $100 gift card?”
It was private enterprise in action. And it annoyed Police Chief John Diaz, who told the Seattle Fox affiliate that “I would prefer that they would not sell them, but once again this is a decision each individual has the right to make.” Many did decide to turn in their guns for destruction. The Seattle Police Department gave out more than 1,000 give cards of $100 or $200 (depending on the gun) before running out. Private donations totaling nearly $120,000 were raised to fund the buyback program.
Gun buyback programs have been going on for years, each with the stated or implied purpose of removing firearms from the streets in order to (in theory) reduce crime. In Seattle the police announced that no names would be recorded, thus inviting anyone with an unsavory background to come forth and turn in his gun with impunity.
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