Balmer, MD: Despite broad criticism, city revives gun buybacks


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Harry Tuttle
June 1, 2005, 10:17 PM
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-md.guns01jun01,1,4467951.story

Despite broad criticism, city revives gun buybacks

In 2000, O'Malley faulted program's effectiveness

By Doug Donovan
Sun Staff

June 1, 2005


Five years ago, when Baltimore last offered a gun buyback program, the city's newly elected mayor dismissed the initiative as a gimmick that mostly took "garbage guns" off the street.

"I don't think gun buybacks are very effective at all," Mayor Martin O'Malley said in April 2000.

But starting today, Baltimore police officials will again offer to buy guns from city residents, spending $100,000 on a buyback program that has long been criticized both locally and nationally.

"If we can save one life or spare one child from being harmed by playing with a gun, then it's worth the effort," O'Malley said yesterday.

In April 2000, the mayor -- who had taken office five months earlier -- criticized gun buybacks in general as a waste of money and promised Baltimore would not hold one. Later that month, the city's housing authority spent $286,000 to buy 710 guns, using money from a federal housing grant and drug treatment dollars.

O'Malley said at the time he would rather see the city buying guns that were used in crimes because the general buybacks tend to attract "a lot of garbage guns." He said he allowed the buyback to continue because it was scheduled prior to his election.

Yesterday, O'Malley said his criticism of gun buybacks in 2000 was aimed at fighting the perception that such initiatives could serve as a crime-fighting panacea.

"There were some who were trying to push this as a substitute for all the other things we had to start doing to reduce violent crime," O'Malley said. "There were some who were kidding themselves into believing that if we did more gun buybacks we wouldn't have as much crime on the streets."

The mayor said Police Commissioner Leonard D. Hamm and community leaders wanted to try gun buybacks and O'Malley agreed because he supports his new commissioner's efforts to build better relationships with neighborhoods in fighting crime.

"While experts can debate its effectiveness in crime reduction, I don't think there's a way to estimate its effectiveness in harm reduction," O'Malley said.

The mayor's criticism five years ago mirrored a national aversion to gun buybacks that had been brewing in Washington. In August 2001, Congress supported President Bush's request to abolish the Department of Housing and Urban Development's gun buyback program started by President Clinton.

Such programs were deemed to be ineffective because taxpayer money was being spent on guns from law-abiding citizens who were not adding to crime rates.

"We don't support [gun buybacks] for the simple reason that we believe one's level of gullibility would have to be exceptionally high to believe that a criminal would respond to such a program," said Andrew Arulanandam, director of public affairs for the National Rifle Association. "I think such programs are more a public relations tool and I think the folks who most often conceive of such ideas are politically motivated. There is no merit to such a program from the standpoint of reducing crime."

Rather than using tax dollars, the Baltimore Police Department is financing this month's operation with asset forfeiture funds, money that comes from cash or property seized from criminals involved in the drug trade.

O'Malley believes the best use of such money is to turn it against the criminals from whom it was seized, said Raquel Guillory, an O'Malley spokeswoman. Neither the mayor nor Hamm attended yesterday's news conference announcing the program.

The police will pay cash for guns between today and June 15 -- offering $50 for rifles and shotguns, $100 for handguns and $200 for assault weapons such as Uzis or Mac-10s. Those seeking to participate can deliver guns to one of the city's nine police district offices or call 311 to schedule a pick-up.

Offering anonymity to everyone, the police will examine all guns turned in. Those that are stolen will be returned to their owners, and those used in crimes will help investigations, said Deputy Police Commissioner Marcus Brown. Otherwise, guns will be melted down.

But police are issuing an important warning with an informational flier being distributed around the city. "Under no circumstance should a citizen approach any police personnel on the street carrying a weapon for turn-in!" the flier states.

Brown said anyone delivering a weapon to a district should leave it in their trunk. The flier also suggests carrying an unloaded gun in a locked box or a securely sealed bag. "We do not want citizens walking into police stations" with loaded weapons, Brown said.

Gun buybacks in Baltimore and across the nation have long been debated. Such initiatives were first introduced in 1974 by then-Mayor William Donald Schaefer. He called it "innovative" and said it could save lives, but the program was criticized by others for bringing in many "antiquated and relatively useless" guns.

Former Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke initiated gun buybacks during his tenure, collecting more than 1,000 guns for $100 each on one Saturday in 1997. Officials suspended the program the next Saturday when police uncovered a scheme to pass off junk guns.

Brown, the deputy commissioner, said yesterday that even with such schemes, fewer guns would remain on the street.

"If somebody is buying guns on the street to turn it into the Police Department, again, that's a gun that's coming off the street," Brown said, hoping it will result in fewer shootings. "Obviously, the original person purchased it on the street also."

The city recorded 203 nonfatal shootings between Jan. 1 and yesterday, said Matthew Gallagher, director of CitiStat. That is 13 fewer shootings than during the same period in 2004, and 113 fewer than during the same period in 2000, the year O'Malley took office.

City Councilmen Robert W. Curran and Kenneth N. Harris Sr. joined two clergy members -- the Rev. Heber Brown of Young Clergy for Social Change and the Rev. Greggory Maddox of Faith Baptist Church -- in supporting the initiative.

"This sends a message to the community that we're trying to make things safer," said the Police Department's chaplain, Selwyn Ray, who coordinated clergy support. "Part of the problem in Baltimore is the gripping feeling of fear and hopelessness. This sends a signal of hope."

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CrazyIrishman
June 1, 2005, 10:29 PM
Hi guys(n' gals)

I've lived in Maryland 'burbs,and to a lesser extent "Bawl'mer City" most of my life. I find there's usually something to amuse oneself on a weekly if not daily basis courtesy of our elected officials.

This time around its (gasp) gun buy backs,AGAIN! The city is offering $50.00 for rifles and shotguns, $100.00 for handguns, and $200.00 for assault weapons. It started today and runs until 15 June 05.

Personally, I don't see the benefit of it. The chance of a criminal turning his gun or guns in are unrealistic at best. For the most part people are probably going to turn in guns that haven't been functional in many a year and are complete junk. Who ever is responsible for collecting these fine gems when its alll said and done, "might" luck into an heirloom or a museum piece! All joking aside, at the last buy-back (in 2000) some "citizen" sold a rare WWII Luger to the police. It alledgedly was appraised for several grand. It was my understanding all guns were to be destroyed unless you are ................(fill in blank). Hmmmm,wonder where its at NOW?

The police should be happy with what they get for the money they offer!! After all ,you can't buy champagne on a beer budget! Even the current mayor thinks its not a good idea.


What do y'all think?? Here's the link:

www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-md.guns01jun01,1,4467951.story?co

AK-74me
June 1, 2005, 10:32 PM
Harry Tutle has a thread going on in legal and political already

jefnvk
June 1, 2005, 10:32 PM
All joking aside, at the last buy-back (in 2000) some "citizen" sold a rare WWII Luger to the police

Heard of one where some lady turned in a Luger in a presentation case, given by some guy named Kaiser :rolleyes: :uhoh:

Alex45ACP
June 1, 2005, 10:34 PM
$200.00 for assault weapons.

What's their definition of an "assault" weapon?

Maybe I'll pick up a bunch of cheap SKS rifles and resell em ;)

PAC 762
June 1, 2005, 10:40 PM
Wonder if they'd take some $80 "Grade B" AK parts kits as "assault weapons".

fletcher
June 1, 2005, 10:44 PM
Otherwise, guns will be melted down.

http://www.thewolfweb.com/images/cry.gifhttp://www.thewolfweb.com/images/cry.gifhttp://www.thewolfweb.com/images/cry.gifhttp://www.thewolfweb.com/images/cry.gifhttp://www.thewolfweb.com/images/cry.gif

garyk/nm
June 1, 2005, 10:52 PM
Hmmm....round up 6 Jennings and/or Ravens at $50 a pop, sell them for $100 ea, recover your investment and buy a Keltec with the profit! Wish I lived closer!

GaryP
June 1, 2005, 10:55 PM
Do they check each weapon they buy to see if it has been stolen before they destroy it?


:evil:

Spot77
June 1, 2005, 10:57 PM
Those that are stolen will be returned to their owners

If you've ever had a gun stolen and the police recover it....well continue to hold your breath and we'll se how blue you turn.

Wish I lived closer

No you don't. Trust me. :uhoh:

Ironworker
June 1, 2005, 10:59 PM
I have always thought this would be a wounderful way of getting rid of a weapon with a "tainted past", shall we say.

There are few enough upsides to this sort of thing, but here's another downside. The last time the US invaded Panama, in 1990, the occupation troops were ordered to run a gun buyback program. Not a whole lot of mil grade weaponry was recovered, but the national museum was broken into, and some bunch of...persons...made off with a good assortment of historical firearms. Nobody went looking for this haul until it was too late to make even a cursory search of the piles of buy-back guns.

JBP
June 1, 2005, 11:07 PM
I'm kind of ambivalent about gun buybacks since they don't get the guns out of the hands of the gangbangers but I wouldn't mind getting in on this one if I lived in Baltimore City rather than Baltimore Country. I have a CZ52 that I paid $85 for a few years ago that needs the rollers replaced but I can't get the slide off & it's not worth taking it to a gunsmith. For the $100 I'd get for it I'd turn around and pick up another one at SOG.

Burt Blade
June 1, 2005, 11:14 PM
Nope. this is a "get out of jail free" "cops will destroy the evidence" program.

Isnt this a crime? Cops conspiring to destroy evidence of a crime?

Preacherman
June 1, 2005, 11:22 PM
Hmmm... Buy a bunch of "gunsmith special" SKS's for $50-$75 apiece, get $200 apiece for them, reinvest the proceeds in a bunch more SKS's...

I think I've just discovered perpetual motion - at a profit! :D

Flyboy
June 1, 2005, 11:30 PM
http://gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=32728466
http://gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=32745094
http://gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=32753634
http://gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=32762374
http://gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=32763728
http://gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=32763755
http://gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=32778712

Norton
June 2, 2005, 12:05 AM
Grrr......I was watching the Channel 2 news and they were showing some of the guns turned in.....

Low and behold, there was a Garand leaning up against the wall heading off to the crusher :( :cuss:

Standing Wolf
June 2, 2005, 12:10 AM
Rather than using tax dollars, the Baltimore Police Department is financing this month's operation with asset forfeiture funds, money that comes from cash or property seized from criminals involved in the drug trade...

Government pretends it's Robin Hood.

peacefuljeffrey
June 2, 2005, 12:17 AM
Irish, you should organize a group of gun owners to SUE THE CITY for wasting taxpayer money on this idiotic "gun buy-back." WE know the truth, and it has been borne-out in study after study, program after program, that GUN "BUY-BACKS" DO NOT ACCOMPLISH A DAMNED THING.

Any city that pulls this kind of garbage is obviously in favor of throwing good money away, so why not put it into the hands of shooters and lawful gun owners? Build a range with it. But there is so much proof that these programs are an utter fraud and waste of money, you should have no problem demonstrating the malfeasance of the city fathers.

Imagine if such a suit won. Some press that tells the story of how pro-gunners paraded through court with like fifteen cases of where gun "buy-backs" did not reduce crime or even net many serviceable guns would be a great blow against the liars who waste our money and give lip service to these shenanigans.

edit: I would LOVE it if some city police department got found out to be reselling, at a huge profit, those horrible dangerous guns that were "bought-back" from the public, after claiming that the program was to "get guns off the streets." Just imagine the backlash we could get rolling on something like that!


-Jeffrey

Tom Bri
June 2, 2005, 12:22 AM
Seems like someone could set up a nice little sideline business, if he knew when the buy-backs were coming. Lots of cheap guns out there...

cortez kid
June 2, 2005, 12:25 AM
Just makes me wonder if I could be near-by with $25 more. psssst comeover here, whatcha got?
good shootin
kid

PAC 762
June 2, 2005, 12:33 AM
Can I (A Delaware resident) go down there and turn in some junkers lying around? I'm seriously considering the 1 hour drive to fund a new carry peice.

MechAg94
June 2, 2005, 12:38 AM
They tried that in Houston several years ago. My brother's buddy ran a pawn shop and they took in cheap little $25 handguns (limit of 3). There were people buying outside. I wish they would try it again. Good buying opportunity.

Yes, it is a waste of taxpayer money. But if I can profit from it, it sort of offsets that for me personally. :)

unixguy
June 2, 2005, 01:10 AM
I suppose I should be grateful that my city isn't wasting money on this type of program, but if the VPC or other non-governmental org was funding it I sure would like for that to happen in my area!

Vodka7
June 2, 2005, 01:36 AM
I'm actually all for these types of programs. No matter what way you look at it, there are a lot of firearms in America, and this is one of the big points anti's harp on. Not all of these firearms are in the hands of people like us--a lot of them are just sitting around, unused, in the homes of people who don't want them but have no idea to get rid of them safely. If it's between a shotty sitting in a grandmother's closet unloaded and unused until it gets stolen or passed on to someone who may or may not want it, and getting sold to the police for any amount, I'd rather see it go to the police.

Ideally, I'd love to have granddad's collection go to an heir that wants it, and failing that, to a collector who will appreciate it, but a lot of people just don't know what to do with old guns. Better they get destroyed than possibly find their way into a criminal's hands.

pax
June 2, 2005, 01:42 AM
Threads merged.

pax

Zundfolge
June 2, 2005, 01:52 AM
Can I (A Delaware resident) go down there and turn in some junkers lying around? I'm seriously considering the 1 hour drive to fund a new carry peice.
They say "no questions asked" ... however transporting handguns across state lines for the purpose of sale is a federal felony (unless the city is an FFL and will transfer them all legal like first) :(

Norton
June 2, 2005, 07:37 AM
Just for the point of clarity, this time around there is no city money being used. I don't know where it's coming from, however.

I'm still having visions of that Garand......that rifle could have been used by one of our GIs to win WWII and this appears to be the end of the road for it, destined for destruction.

I almost hope a Baltimore City police officer makes off with it.......

Mongo the Mutterer
June 2, 2005, 07:54 AM
O'Malley said at the time he would rather see the city buying guns that were used in crimes because the general buybacks tend to attract "a lot of garbage guns." He said he allowed the buyback to continue because it was scheduled prior to his election.Did anyone make any sense out of this statement? What does O'Malley want to do, only buy guns from criminals?

Why would they (other than being stupid, which of course is possible... but not as stupid as hizzhonor) turn in their "certified crime used" guns?

I guess they get an amnesty for their crimes, if they certify the gun as used in their crimes. :banghead: :banghead: :banghead:

c_yeager
June 2, 2005, 08:15 AM
Later that month, the city's housing authority spent $286,000 to buy 710 guns, using money from a federal housing grant and drug treatment dollars.

I would LOVE to hear how they can explain spending nearly $400 per weapon. They pay about $100, so how is it that their operating costs are 3 times the amount of money that they are handing out?

Lets say that the average payout is close to $100 per weapon. That means they are handing out about $71,000. Where is the other $200,000 going? Lets say that they ran this thing for 15 days for 8 hours per day (this is VERY generous BTW) it means that the buyback itself is costing nearly $2000 PER HOUR, not counting the money that they are actually paying for guns.

Someone is getting rich off of this.

DelayedReaction
June 2, 2005, 01:24 PM
OnTarget in Jessup, MD has SKS for $140. They're milsurp Yugos with grenade launchers and bayonet mounts, so they're definitely "assault weapons".

Sounds like a chance to make some quick cash to me!

Mr. James
June 2, 2005, 02:05 PM
Just for the point of clarity, this time around there is no city money being used. I don't know where it's coming from, however.

Asset forfeiture. And since money is fungible, that's $100,000 which won't be available for legitimate guv'mint bidness, which means $100,000 more of taxpayer money will be necessary to make up for it. So, however you cut it, TANSTAAFL.

Brett Bellmore
June 2, 2005, 06:12 PM
money that comes from cash or property seized from criminals involved in the drug trade.

Well, technically, money that came from people they might or might not eventually get around to trying to prove were criminals involved in the drug trade... Since they seize the assest before you're convicted of anything.

NHBB
June 2, 2005, 06:46 PM
I like how they complain about garbage guns getting turned in. I suppose they would rather have law abiding citizens turning in their sigs and glocks and NFA weapons for a pittance of the investment, rather than get some POS lorcin out of the hands of some little homeboy. overall, I think it is a big waste, but whatever.

Partisan Ranger
June 2, 2005, 06:52 PM
"If it saves one life it's worth it" is one of the stupidest phrases in the English language and anyone who says it should be tarred, feathered and ridiculed merciliessly.

By that logic, we should spend an extra $50,000 per car in the US and make them as solid as tanks. After all, if it saves one life it's worth it. (eye roll)

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