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?