Alex Tabarrok on Gun Buybacks
On Feb. 9, Oakland police, led by state Sen. Don Perata, D-Oakland, offered to buy handguns and assault weapons for $250 each, “no questions asked, no ID required.” The “One Less Gun” buy-back program attracted so many eager sellers that the money quickly ran out. But instead of closing up shop, the police handed out IOUs good for a future buy back. The Oakland police are now stuck with a bill for $170,000.
The buy back has been criticized as a poorly organized fiasco, but even the critics say it was “the right idea” and “a step in the right direction.”
On the contrary, the buy back was a bad idea from the beginning. Gun buy backs have been tried before, in cities from Seattle to Washington, D.C., and they simply don’t work. . . .