Over 500 guns were surrendered to Baltimore police within the first hour and a half of a citywide gun buyback program this week. Participants received anywhere from $25 to $500 for their unwanted firearms.
Mayor Catherine Pugh and Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle announced a gun buyback program—the first in six years—last week. Pugh said that the program was intended to "get the guns off of our streets."
The program reportedly cost the city $250,000, but there is little evidence that buyback programs are effective in reducing violence, or even in reducing the number of firearms in circulation—as one woman ably demonstrated.
Kathleen Cairns, a WBFF Baltimore journalist, tweeted a picture of a woman who was surrendering a 9mm. She hoped to use the money from the program to buy an even bigger gun.
One woman shows us the 9MM she is turning in for the Baltimore City Gun Buy Back program. But she says she is using the cash to get a bigger weapon! Story on FOX45 at 4pm. pic.twitter.com/LlmCbezpU7
— Kathleen Cairns (@CairnsKcairns) December 17, 2018
There are other ways to game the system as well. For example, the city is offering $25 for every "hi-capacity" magazine turned in. Some digging from Daniel J. Mitchell of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) discovered that such a "hi-capacity" magazine can be purchased online for about $12. The $13 in profit may not seem like much money to some, but it can be the difference between paying for food, rent, a bill, or even a Christmas gift.
Of course, the vast majority of participants of the program are not those with criminal intentions. In fact, interviews revealed that participants wanted to declutter their homes, get rid of old family heirlooms, or simply make a buck.