Friday, October 28, 2005

The Sham of Gun Buybacks and the Invasion of Privacy

On August 30 the Madison Police Department announced yet another of the infamous "gun buyback programs". These programs, should really be called "turn in your gun to us and receive a $50 gift certificate and get your privacy invaded without your consent programs" since they really aren't "buying back" anything in the fair market sense of the word. The data and research that everyone without a frontal lobe refuses to accept is that these scams have never worked to reduce gun crime, and never will.

At the press conference August 30, all of the local bigwigs got together for a nice feelgood session about the whole thing. In attendance were:

Madison Police Chief Noble Wray
Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager (now known as Keg Goldschlager for this)
Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz
Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard
A partridge in a pear tree.

Noble Wray said at the presser that:
a recent increase in gun violence led him to make the decision to run the buyback program. He abuses statistics in only the way a public official can,
stating:

In July of this year, the city had a 200 percent increase in gun
incidents over last year.
Really? As if Madison is the gun crime capital of the world. The increase was probably from two gun related crimes all the way up to four or something like that. As usual, no study or collection of data is cited so no verification of the statement can be done.

Wray also said:

The program is designed to get guns out of homes where they might be used in the heat of the moment.
But later he said:

The effort aims to make gun owners assess how safely their weapon is stored, and whether it's worth having in the home.
Ah, but wait - on October 21, after the program was over, Wray said this:

Wray said the program is intended to bring attention to gun violence, provide an opportunity to discuss gun violence and to promote gun safety.
Huh. Lots of different reasons. But wait, there's more.

On Sept. 3, a spokesman for the Madison Police Dept., Mike Hanson says the reason for the buyback is different:

In the 1990's, when programs like this were very popular, law enforcement oversold how it could reduce homicide, gun crimes and everything else, he said. We just want to get unwanted guns out of homes.
So we have several reasons now given for the program that the Madison Police came up with.

But the best one comes from UW Basketball Coach Bo Ryan, (a mighty fine coach, I might add) who adds this bewildering statement into the mix:

"Gun violence and people taking other peoples lives and causing bodily harm through anger -- there will never be an answer to it, the only thing you have here is you have actions," Ryan said.
My goodness, Bo - not the bodily harm card! I guess the Madison PD didn't give Bo the briefing.

But then there is more. This from Madison Police Chief Noble Wray again, this time August 29:

Police Chief Noble Wray said gun offenses last month was double what it was in July 2004, making a gun buyback program a proactive way to tackle the problem. "You see that Milwaukee is at a higher rate for homicide, and you'll probably see the same thing in Racine," said Wray. "So part of this is trying to get ahead of the curve, trying to get public awareness out."

I guess I just don't know what to make out of that statement. Public awareness? That gang bangers and drug dealers won't turn in their guns for $50?

From our elite Attorney General in the same presser on August 29:

Organizers of this week's effort in Madison say the buyback is just one solution to the problem. "How do you measure if a crime has been averted because someone didn't have a handgun or some sort of weapon available to them at a time of an angry moment, and that's a difficult measurement to find," said state attorney general Peg Lautenschlager.
Brutal. Handgun or some sort of weapon? Like a knife? Or a golf club? Or a baseball bat? Yes, Peg, these too need to be confiscated from my home in case I have an "angry moment" like when I read your next oration.

So we have proof here that the Madison Police Dept. and others associated with the gun buyback program are giving all kinds of reasons from all over the board why they are having a gun buyback program. Who cares, you ask? I do. All of the confusion is intentional because the plan is actually laid out quite well. There is really only one reason to have a gun buyback. That is to invade the privacy of citizens and disarm them - like all police departments want to do.

Do you really think criminals are lining up to turn in their weapons? Of course not. Mostly they were probably older men or women who simply have no use for the weapon anymore. But then what happens? Background check, serial number run, basic invasion of privacy.

Back to Bo, the expert on guns from August 30:

Ryan discounted studies that show no correlation between buy-backs and reductions in gun crime. He said the success of the program could come in ways that statistics can't measure, such as lives saved.
Actually, statistics can measure the total effect from this program. From the October 21 article:

None of the guns collected had been stolen or discovered to have been used in a crime, property room manager Jim Nikora said.
Well, yea.

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