Turnout at Seattle’s much-ballyhooed gun “buyback” Saturday was reportedly very good with “hundreds” of people showing up, but if one is to believe details of all the reports, there is some curious math at work.
The event also allowed anti-gun Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn to deliver what has to be the cornerstone soundbite of hypocrisy of the day, and the gun prohibition movement. Quoted by the Seattle P-I.com, the mayor — miffed that several gun rights activists showed up with real cash instead of gift cards for guns and were buying the firearms otherwise headed for destruction — had this observation:
“One person can sell another person a gun on the street and it’s absolutely legal. Do you see anybody out there doing a background check?”
That’s pretty smug for someone presiding over a “no questions asked” large-scale gun swap scheme — rather creepily conducted in a parking lot under a freeway, which is just the kind of scenario oft described by anti-gunners in their rants about “loopholes” in the law — that took guns from people anonymously. Who knows whether any of these firearms were stolen or used in crimes? If they were, how would the police now link them back to the people who turned them in for gift cards?
There’s another curiosity, which presumably can be easily explained. Various reports say that 160 guns and one used rocket launcher were turned in during the first two hours of the project, and $80,000 in gift certificates were handed out in 2 ½ hours, bring an early wrap-up. But the effort had reportedly gotten $120,000 in financial support.
Now, break out the pocket calculator and divide $80,000 by 160. For the “buyback” to break even on the $80,000, at least 400 so-called “assault rifles” would have had to be turned in, or 800 handguns (they were offering $100 gift cards for handguns, $200 for rifles), or some combination that would have netted far more than 160 firearms. Even if twice that number were turned in, the math is still off. Perhaps there was an error in reporting.
A check with some of the local firearms forums shows that a few people with money came away with some of the guns that people brought. Many of the guns turned in appear to have been old shotguns, beaters, a relatively few semi-auto rifles, a collection of rimfire rifles and assorted other pieces that may not have been worth even $100.
But there was enough of a turnout, snarling traffic around James and Cherry streets, to give Mayor McGinn and his minions the soap box opportunity to promise another “buyback” later on, if more funds become available.
At least KOMO reported that the last time Seattle did a gun buyback about 20 years ago, firearms-related homicides actually went up during the following six months. It was during the first six months of 2012 that the majority of Seattle’s homicides were committed for the entire year.