Gun “buybacks” have always seemed a strange mechanism, whether they provide gift cards, cash or—as in the case of The Miami Bike Shop—a pedal-powered set of wheels.
The brainchild of MBS manager Karim Nahim and Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes, the current program hopes to net 50 firearms. Nahim says more than 50 guns are not a worry: “We will not turn anyone away. We’ll give them a voucher to get a bike from us.”
Just two problems: Communities that once endorsed these programs are discovering they have problems (here, here and here)—research indicates that they either capture firearms unlikely to be used in crimes or break a chain of evidence so that crimes will remain unsolved. The second difficulty remains as intractable as ever—criminals don’t play by rules, and black markets will always provide them with the tools of their ugly trade.