“Albuquerque Launches Voluntary Gun Disposal Program” – Waste of Tax Money

I happened upon this article on the local KOAT news site. The Albuquerque Police Department is holding a gun turn-in this weekend, and will continue to do so every Saturday this month. Criminals, er um, I mean concerned citizens can turn in their guns to the police to have them destroyed.

While the program is voluntary, I have several major problems with this program:

This program is “no questions asked.” You turn in the gun, and it is destroyed. It’s like the mafia hitman’s wet dream- dispose of every weapon which you’ve used in a crime, and we won’t ask, just destroy the evidence. If I committed a crime with a gun, and then attempted to destroy it to hide the evidence, I would be charged with Tampering with Evidence. Now, I can go to the police station and have them destroy it for me.

Along these lines, these guns will most assuredly not be checked against the list of stolen firearms. I had a Glock 32 stolen in 2006. If it shows up at this gun destruction program, I’ll never see it again. I probably never will anyway, but returning stolen property might have been the only inkling of hope this program had at benefiting the tax payer.

The effect of this program will not be less crime. The people who turn in guns will be a) parents of teenager wanna-be gangstas (who will just steal another gun) b) criminals looking to ditch stolen/”used” weapons and c) people who inherited guns and have no idea how much they are worth.

The first group will not yield many weapons. Mom finds either a stolen gun, or some useless piece of garbage (read: Jennings, Bryco, etc) and turns it in. Thug gets his cell phone taken away for five minutes and then breaks into another car or house and steals another gun.

The second group will also not yield many guns. If you’ve committed a crime, or are cracked out, you probably don’t want to voluntarily go chat with the police.

The third group is being ripped off. If you saw someone who inherited a mint condition ’67 Corvette, and a sleaze showed up and told her that it was only worth $500, you’d try to stop the transaction. You’d know the car was worth more, and that the sleaze was taking advantage of the person. By the time someone mentions guns on their will, they are probably nice weapons, worth lots of money. Instead of selling them, the police say they’ll break them for free.

The only honest intention this program could have would be to return stolen property to its rightful owner. Instead of doing so, the Albuquerque Police are more afraid of scaring away the few criminals that would turn in their (likely stolen) weapons.

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