March 25, 2022
Despite the fact that research has shown that so-called gun "buybacks" have no effect on crime, the NFL's Denver Broncos just held their first such event and are planning another one each month through October.
According to a report at TheDenverChannel.com, the Broncos, with the help of the nonprofit anti-violence group RAWtools, took in some 189 firearms at their recent event. The guns will be melted down to make garden tools for community gardens.
Interestingly, both the Bronco and RAWtools were plenty proud of that “accomplishment.”
“A lot of the buyback reasons are related to the ability or access to safe storage, or they might have kids that are getting older and they feel more uncomfortable with a firearm in the house,” Mike Martin, founder of RAWtools, told TheDenverChannel.com, adding, “You’re taking something that brings harm to communities, and turning it into something that heals communities.”
There’s only one problem: Such “buybacks” are completely ineffective at reducing violent crime—the very thing that they are touted to do. And that fact has been proven over and over.
Before looking at that, however, let’s first dispense with the whole notion of “buybacks.” Since the government never owned the firearms they are attempting to take possession of in the first place, “compensated confiscation” is a much better term for these proposals. Of course, that doesn’t sound quite as good on the Broncos’ virtue signaling resumé as a gun “buyback.”
Now to the facts ignored by the Broncos and their partner in crime, RAWtools. A recently released study on the effectiveness of so-called gun “buybacks” reveals some important information that they probably aren’t going to want to hear.
A paper titled Have U.S. Gun Buybacks Misfired, authored by Toshio Ferrazares, Joseph J. Sabia and D. Mark Anderson, and published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, concluded that such “buybacks” have no measurable impact on reducing violent crime.
“Gun buyback programs (GBPs), which use public funds to purchase civilians' privately-owned firearms, aim to reduce gun violence,” reads the paper’s abstract. “However, little is known about their effects on firearm-related crime or deaths. Using data from the National Incident Based Reporting System, we find no evidence that GBPs reduce gun crime.”
That said, the abstract continued even further with additional information that should put an end to the fallacy of such shenanigans once and for all.
“Given our estimated null findings, with 95 percent confidence, we can rule out decreases in firearm-related crime of greater than 1.3 percent during the year following a buyback,” the abstract concluded. “Using data from the National Vital Statistics System, we also find no evidence that GBPs reduce suicides or homicides where a firearm was involved.”
Deep within the analysis of the research are some other pretty interesting facts the trio discovered.
“GBPs may fail to reduce gun violence for a number of reasons,” the researchers wrote. “First, if the price city governments are willing to pay gun owners is less than the value of the firearm for most sellers, a relatively small number of firearms may be collected. Second, if criminals believe law-abiding citizens (and potential victims) are relinquishing their firearms, then they may be more willing to commit gun crimes following a GBP.”
Of course, rather than researching the effectiveness of so-called “buybacks,” the writer from thedenverchannel.com took it on himself to juxtapose the number of guns taken in by the “buyback” with gun sales the past few years—as if legal gun buyers going through a background check to purchase a firearm pose some sort of instant threat that would require a “buyback.”
“While nearly 200 guns were bought back at the event, it is a drop in the bucket compared to rising gun sales in Colorado,” story author Rob Harris wrote. “More than 443,000 instant background checks were performed for sales in 2021, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. That is slightly lower than the more than 487,097 performed in 2020, but is still much higher than the 335,370 performed in 2019. That constitutes a 45% [increase] from 2019 to 2020.”
Interestingly, over the last several years, Denver has been known for violence among its players, staying near the top in the NFL for players arrested for crimes more serious than simple traffic violations. According to the NFL Player Arrest Database, 54 Denver players have been arrested for such crimes since 2000. More than 20 of those arrests were for assault or domestic violence.
Perhaps rather than host ineffective gun “buybacks,” the Broncos could better curb violent crime by more closely policing their own ranks.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for more than 20 years.