Opponents of gun buyback programs have long pointed out that they offer unintended benefits for criminal organizations: Turning in stolen or unwanted guns can fund future operations. But a new program under consideration in Tacoma, Wash., might go one better. City officials are discussing whether to institute a “drop box” where guns can be deposited anonymously.
The program is being touted as a way to entice residents who are unwilling to come in contact with police, and supporters are already suggesting that the measure will be a success even if only one or two guns are turned in. Yet proponents are ignoring the potential for criminals to use a drop box as a fail-safe evidence disposal system: Just clean your crime gun and drop it in. Police say that they would investigate any guns that are deposited for connections to crime, but without any way to tie a gun back to an owner, what good would that do?
Survey Shows Where Criminals Get Guns—And Where They Don’t
A study by the University of Chicago Crime Lab, published Friday in the Preventative Medicine journal, helps shed some light on the relationship between criminals and their guns.
In fall 2013, researchers conducted anonymous, face-to-face interviews with nearly 100 Cook County Jail detainees convicted or suspected of gun crimes. According to the study, few got their guns from the Internet, gun shows or licensed stores, citing fears of being robbed by a stranger or caught in a sting operation. Instead, over two-thirds obtained firearms from family, fellow gang members or associates. Most were handguns; very few had possessed so-called “assault weapons.”
Despite federal law, most owned guns within six months of being jailed, claiming fear of being unable to defend themselves outweighed fear of getting caught. Perhaps because they usually changed guns about once a year—citing potential liability of “dirty” guns—most reportedly didn’t practice with the guns or know much about their operation.
California Legislators Consider Comprehensive Ivory Ban
In the wake of new federal restrictions and a ballot initiative in Washington state, California may be next to jump on the “banned”-wagon. A new bill proposed in the Legislature would prohibit the sale of most ivory products in the state, not only by retailers but even among private collectors.
The measure is being touted as a way to cut down on elephant poaching worldwide, but the import and sale of ivory has already been illegal in California since 1977. Supporters of the bill say that sellers still secure ivory from poached elephants and sell it under the guise of pre-ban ivory or mammoth tusk. But even if legislation would crack down on that practice, it would also have a devastating impact on legitimate collectors and merchants. For every unethical antique dealer, there are many gun owners who don’t want to see their prized firearms lose their value.
Use Your Power!
Residents of California should tell their representatives not to support the new ivory ban bill, which indiscriminately punishes collectors in an effort to root out a few supporters of poaching. Let your representative know that this bill is a blunt instrument that will do more harm than good. Call the Congressional Hotline at (202) 224-3121, or contact them onlinehere.
Remote Idaho School District Adopts Armed-Staff Security Strategy
In a first for the state of Idaho, the rural Green Valley School District will make firearms available to trained staff in the event of an active shooter targeting its K-12 school. School officials have purchased four rifles and ammunition that will be stored in gun safes and accessible to trained school personnel in an emergency. The school is also posting signs at both entrances warning that “our school is armed.”
According to Superintendent Greg Alexander, it can take emergency responders 45 minutes or more to reach the 300-student Green Valley School District, which is about an hour north of Boise and surrounded on three sides by Boise National Forest. “That is a long time before you can get to the school to help out,” Alexander said.
People from across the U.S. have called to express their support, according to Alexander, with advocates of the policy outnumbering opponents 75-to-1.
Milwaukee Gang Members Threaten Police In Recruiting Videos
A video that appeared as evidence in the trial of an alleged gang leader shows young men on a street corner in Milwaukee, Wis., displaying guns. Just a few blocks away from a police station, one subject brandishes what resembles a MAC-10 and says, “It’s MAC-aroni time. Police gonna get shot at, too.”
According to Police Chief Edward Flynn, this is a gang recruiting video—and just one of many. “They jump out of their cars and spend five minutes flashing their guns, gold teeth, money and drugs and off they go,” Flynn explained. “They are trying to send this message, they can operate with impunity.” Police are investigating this video, but it is chilling that criminals not only feel safe threatening police on their doorstep, but expect to gain supporters by such a gesture.
Robbery Foiled By Armed Citizen
A 19-year-old woman and another individual walked into a liquor store in Baltimore, Md., on Saturday night. She waved a handgun and announced that the store was being robbed. Perhaps tired of the ongoing violence in Charm City—perhaps fearful for the lives of those in the store—one of the Starlight Liquor Store’s employees was having none of it. This individual refused to be a victim.
The employee immediately fired at the woman and shot her several times. She was taken to an area hospital and is in critical condition. The other suspect fled the scene and remains at large. But thanks to the quick reaction of this armed citizen, there was one less violent crime to add to Baltimore’s tally over the weekend.