Editorial

January 15, 2013

By Staff

Gun buyback is worthwhile plan

Seattle and King County leaders last week introduced a plan for a gun-buyback program. If you don’t want a gun you happen to have, bring it to a parking lot under Interstate 5 in Seattle. (Guys, did you have to pick such a shady-sounding location?) In exchange, you will receive a $100 gift card, or $200 if the firearm is an assault weapon — no questions asked.

Officials have collected about $100,000, largely in donations, to fund the effort.

Groups on both sides of the gun control debate slammed the plan. They say it would not result in a substantial amount of guns being taken off the street. It will not lower the crime rate, and the bad guys are not going to turn in their weapons for a fraction of their cost.

They’re right, as far as they go.

Getting $200 to spend on Amazon.com won’t be what entices a psychopath to turn in his arms. In all likelihood, this gun buyback won’t prevent another tragedy like Sandy Hook or Aurora or Columbine.

What it might do, however, is stop an everyday tragedy that doesn’t make national headlines.

It can mean one less potentially unsecured gun that a child could find at home or a friend’s house.

It could mean one gun that’s not readily available when someone is considering a crime of passion or suicide.

It could mean one gun that’s not stolen in a burglary and resold to a criminal on a dark street corner.

Everybody wants to do something after the massacre at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School. Local leaders don’t have a lot of room to maneuver when it comes to placing restrictions on weapons, nor should they attempt to abridge our constitutional rights. But this voluntary program means no one’s rights are being violated.

We read about the killings, the loss of life. We’ll never know how many people are protected through this program, but even if it’s just one, the time and money is worth the effort.

The gun-buyback program is far from perfect, but our leaders can do something, or they can do nothing. It’s good to see them try.

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