Monday, December 24, 2012

Here's An Idea

(Editorial cartoon by Mike Luckovich and published 12/23/12 in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  Click on image to enlarge and then please return.)

The NRA has made it clear that it has absolutely no intention of backing down from its decades old fight against gun control of any kind.  Wayne LaPierre's response to the horrible Newtown Massacre, both in his speech to the press on 12/22/12 and his comments on the Sunday Bobbleheads was not fewer guns, but more guns.  The transcript of his insane speech can be found here.

So, we can expect a fight.  No surprise there.

Fortunately, elements of the public are demonstrating their willingness to engage in that fight on the side of the angels.  From the Los Angeles Times:

An hour before the fifth annual gun buyback was set to begin Friday, a line of cars already snaked around a large empty lot and out into the street.

There was a monetary incentive — $50 for a rifle or shotgun, $100 for a handgun or assault weapon. But there was also another motive, represented by the commonly heard phrase "in the wrong hands."

"I don't need this shotgun sitting around and, with the break-ins in our neighborhood, I don't want it ending up in the wrong hands," said Bill Stowers, 59, an unemployed Teamster, who swapped his .12-gauge for a $50 gift card. ...

Friday's buyback in San Diego, sponsored by African American ministers, had already been on the calendar before the Connecticut shooting. But at a news conference before the event, law enforcement officials promised similar exchanges within six months throughout the sprawling county, particularly in the corridor of Highway 78 that stretches from Escondido to Oceanside.

In four years, the San Diego buyback has collected 850 guns. Those that had been stolen are returned to their owners; others are destroyed by the San Diego Police Department.

Among this year's weapons turned in were military-style rifles, at least two fully automatic handguns and numerous handguns small enough to be easily concealed. Friday's collection tally was 364, more than in any previous year.   [Emphasis added]

Los Angeles has regular buy-backs, usually in the Spring, but Mayor Villaraigosa has announced this year's buy-back in being bumped to 12/26/12.  Again, gift cards (from Ralphs Markets) will be issued.

The money for the San Diego buy-back came from private donations and from the budgets of the San Diego Police Department and District Attorney's Office.  Presumably, the Los Angeles buy-backs are similarly funded.

So, here's the idea I promised in the title of this post.  Budgets for local agencies all over the country are pretty tight because of the state of the economy.  It would be a shame for such programs to lose effectiveness for such a reason.  The federal government could easily step in to help out by imposing a higher tax on ammunition and designate those funds for buy-back programs all across the country.  This would enable communities to offer more realistic sums for what are often expensive arms.  It would also serve to make ammunition more expensive and cut back on sales of the ammo that makes those guns so deadly.

If you signed the White House petition demanding more rational gun control, you probably got a response from the White House inviting you to submit your ideas to the commission headed by Vice President Biden to look into gun control provisions.  If you like this idea, include it in your list to Mr. Biden.  In any case, please respond.  If a couple of hundred thousand people do so, maybe the White House and Congress will finally get the message.

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