King County holds gun buyback, pays $36,000 in gift cards, but research shows these events have no effect on crime

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The King County Sheriff’s Office accepted 287 firearms and about 10,000 rounds of ammunition on Saturday, and gave out $36,000 in gift cards to residents turning in these items during the county’s gun buyback event held in Burien.

The event had a budget of $100,000, including up to $40,000 in gift cards.

All of the firearms will be destroyed, including the seven antique guns turned in, the King County Sheriff’s Office said. A number of the long-barrel firearms appeared to be old, with wooden stocks that showed a lot of wear and tear. They may have been inherited hunting rifles and shotguns but didn’t appear to have been maintained by their owners.

The firearms turned in were:

  • 11 AR-15/AK-47
  • 68 Pistols
  • 46 Revolvers
  • 70 Shotguns
  • 75 Rifles (excluding AR-15)
  • 8 Muzzle loading
  • 7 Antiques
  • 2 Other

The guns will be destroyed at a facility in Spokane, the sheriff’s office said.

Firearms turned into King County Sheriff’s Office for gift cards.

Federal Way, a city within King County, had a gun buyback day in February. Police accepted hundreds of guns and gave out $25,000 in gift cards, but ran out of them a half hour before the end of the event.

The city of Seattle and King County both held gun buyback programs years ago. In 2013, 716 firearms were turned in to King County. Seattle Police took in 1,172 firearms in 1992.

The aim of the program is to reduce gun violence. According to the Seattle Times Seattle reported a 19% increase in verified criminal shootings and shots-fired citywide compared to 2021. In 2022, Seattle had 39 fatal shootings, 157 nonfatal shootings, and 543 verified shots-fired reports, compared to 32 fatal shootings, 142 nonfatal shootings, and 446 shots fired reports in 2021. These figures do not include suicides, confirmed self-inflicted shootings, or officer involved shootings. Seattle’s population is 733,919, according to the 2020 Census.

In King County there were 83 fatal shootings, 357 nonfatal shootings, and 1,654 verified shots-fired reports in 2022. King County has a population of 2.269 million.

While the programs take resources from taxpayers that could be used to put more officers on the street, there’s little evidence that they work to reduce gun violence is debatable.

“It’s a waste of resources if the entities that are sponsoring believe that it’s going to have a positive effect on reducing crime,” said Keith Taylor, an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, which is part of the City University of New York system. “But if the purpose is to provide a means for individuals to get rid of weapons from their households that they don’t want to have anymore, it absolutely is a good option.” He was interviewed by the Pew Charitable Trust on the matter of the efficacy of gun buy-backs reducing crime.

“Taylor, a former assistant commissioner at the New York Police Department, said if people wanted to get rid of unwanted guns, they don’t have to wait for a buyback event; most police departments will allow people to turn in firearms without a reward. But that doesn’t appeal to people who may use their firearms for crimes and a means of earning a living, he said,” the nonprofit reported.

A paper published in the National Bureau of Economic Research said the effect of buybacks on crime is so little it’s not even measurable.

“Gun buyback programs (GBPs), which use public funds to purchase civilians’ privately-owned firearms, aim to reduce gun violence. However, next to nothing is known about their effects on firearm-related crime or deaths. Using data from the National Incident Based Reporting System, we find no evidence that GBPs reduce gun crime. Given our estimated null findings, with 95 percent confidence, we can rule out decreases in firearm-related crime of greater than 1.1 percent during the year following a buyback. Using data from the National Vital Statistics System, we also find no evidence that GBPs reduce suicides or homicides where a firearm was involved. These results call into question the efficacy of city gun buyback programs in their current form,” the researchers found. That study can be seen at this link.

29 COMMENTS

  1. If the other side can harvest ballots during an election, I wonder if I can harvest firearms during a ‘buyback’?

  2. That stainless Ruger Mini-14 would be a fun rifle for salt water beaver and their cousins. It’s a popular rifle in the Alaska bush although I believe the .223 cartridge (illegal for deer in many states) is inhumane to use on caribou. It shoots the .223 Rem cartridge, same as an AR 15 “assault rifle,” and it’s a semi-auto, but it has a different shape so it’s not an assault rifle. I saw a North American Arms mini-revolver with two cylinders in the mix, a gun I find very fun to shoot: Not much bigger than a pocket watch (and made as well as a Swiss watch) when it has the original grips. In any event, what a silly and wasteful use of taxpayer money.

    Why not have a buyback of the expensive tennis shoes that gangbangers wear when committing crimes? We can all agree that would help Nike, so what does anyone believe a gun buyback does?

    The huge Black Lives Matter takeover of a part of downtown Seattle had a pronounced anti-Sematic undertone so why not offer these guns to Seattle Jews who might better prepare to defend themselves? I suppose that would not be woke enough.

      • What exactly is odd about the post? His level of knowledge? His suggestions of what to do instead of a gun buy back?

  3. I’m hanging on to a broken down, POS semi-auto handgun for the opportunity to sell to a liberal government. If I was traveling through SeaTac, I’d bring it with me for their buying pleasure. I wonder if they’ll accept mail-ins?

    • why waste broke down real firearms when you can bring them broken daisy air rifles and air soft guns

  4. Hey, if you’re dumb enough to exchange your firearm for a few hundred dollars, so be it. You can rest assured that no agency, government or otherwise will ever get their hands on my guns.

      • Isn’t that strange. By coincidence, I just sold all mine to a private buyer a couple of weeks ago.

  5. Typical for the Socialist State of Washington! All these law abiding citizens turning in their guns for money.. For what? Do they honestly think that is going to do a thing to the growing crime and the criminals? Nope!
    They just surrendered their lives in my opinion. Good luck with that! Keep your guns folks.. We may need them!

  6. Like getting rid of your old rusted 1968 Chevy so you can buy a new BMW twin turbo. Or, like getting rid of your old, rusted out Schwinn 3-speed so you can go out and buy a new $7500 fat tire bike. Accumulated junk in the garage exchanged for more and better fire power.

    • Exactly. Take those gift cards exchanged for junk guns straight to the gun shop.
      Or just do what this person did:
      According to New York’s WKTV news station, a man who identified himself as “Kem” went to a New York buyback event in Utica last August where he negotiated the sale of more than 110 small firearms with the Attorney General’s Office staff in exchange for 42 gift cards worth $500 each for 3D printed weapons (lower receivers and frames for different kinds of firearms) that he made using a $200 3D printer he got for Christmas.

  7. I’ll bet King County doesn’t check if the guns are stolen before handing out gift cards.

    Pretty sure they would attract more if they gave out free needles.

  8. Liberal stupidity at its finest. But it makes woke white progressives feel good about themselves.

    People who use guns to commit crimes will not surrender their guns. They might steal guns from others, but will never give up their own.

  9. I wonder how many of those guns were stolen?
    I also wonder how many of those guns were used in crimes, and the criminals want the police to destroy the evidence?
    I wonder how many criminals actually turned in the gun they were in possession of? Oh, wait, that is an easy answer, zero. Ignore my previous question

  10. First of all, you cannot “buy back” something you never owned. Communists are always creating new words or changing definitions to suit their purposes.

    Second, these events are notorious for attracting guns that are malfunctioning, beat up, or stolen (but can’t be sold on the street – criminals want short barreled handguns, not bird guns, old military rifles, long barreled hunting pistols, etc.)

    Third, as your article demonstrates, these events are not effective in reducing “gun violence” (another communist phrase). In this case, if I’m reading my calculator correctly, something less than 0.012% of the county’s population responded (assuming each buyback participant turned in one gun). Not exactly a raging success at sweeping guns off the street!

    Fourth, these events allow government leaders to show their liberal constituents that they “are doing something” to keep their community safe. This element of the buy back scheme is largely successful because many liberal folks willingly believe such fantasies and keep voting for the “leaders”.

    Fifth, it appears the residents of King County may be woefully under-gunned. 287 guns out of a population of 2.3 million people!?! In Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, or road system Alaska, you could turn up more than that in a residential block (or in just 3 or 4 MatSu Valley houses).

    Last, these events are concrete evidence that there is no cure for political stupidity.

    • Ok, let’s look at China. Civilians are not allowed to carry guns in China. That’s a good place for you to relocate to get away from guns. Cambodia, Eritrea, and the Solomon Islands all ban gun ownership. And if I recall correctly, the Khmer Rouge removed all firearms from private ownership, and stockpiled them in the KR regime. Then, 1.5 – 3 million Cambodians were slaughtered by the communist KR, unable to defend themselves, and many of them were ethnic minorities. You’re welcome, dog.

    • Hey dog. You must feel SO much safer now that those terrible guns are separated from human hands. Would you be willing to let them check for stolen firearms?

    • Dog you’re right we should have all the worlds military’s give up their guns. That will solve the problem. You just continue to misunderstand problems. You’re not going to get rid of guns with the politician climate and you libs wanting everybody to fall in line. Millions of people are getting ready for the one event that’s going to make a cause to have a gun.

    • More radical leftists equals more misery, poverty, social dysfunction and tyranny.
      .
      So when does the Radical Leftist Buy-Backs begin?
      There are several here on MRAK that I would just love to turn in for a tidy profit — or even for free.

    • “More guns equals more gun crimes.”
      And, therein lies the problem. It is use of a statistic without context.
      .
      First of all, why limit your statement to “gun crimes?” Are violent crimes committed without firearms somehow less violent, or less criminal? Is someone who was stabbed and bleeds out less dead than someone who is shot? Does raping a woman while holding a knife make the crime less heinous than if the criminal was holding a gun?
      .
      Next, “look around the world” is pretty much meaningless, unless you take into account each and every difference between the US and the other country you are looking at. A homogeneous country, say Japan or Finland will have a VERY different culture than a multinational country like the USA. The number of guns in a country will differ significantly also. And, quite often other countries do not report crime the same way the USA does. For example, school shootings happen so often in Honduras that the news does not even bother reporting them. (Sort of like gang shootings in the gun free paradise of Chicago.)
      .
      Finally, the number of defensive gun uses FAR exceeds the number of injuries or deaths related to guns. Even when you include suicides in the death number. So, removing guns from society will actually result in more violent crime, not less.
      .
      Which makes your “More guns equals more gun crimes.” statement laughable. It is simplistic. The way a child would think about the problem.

  11. Interesting term, ‘buyback.’ I have never purchased a firearm from the gubment, not even a marvelous old surplus M1 Garand rifle from the Civilian Marksmanship Program. (My bad. Those Garands are marvelous and powerful weapons.). If a mandatory buyback for any of my firearms is ever enacted under Brandon, or under any other fool, then I will accept nothing less than $500,000… for just one of them. And I’ll keep all of the others.

  12. Have they ever thought of intercepting all the ghost guns made in foreign countries? Most come in containers passing through the Port of Long Beach, CA. Naw, that would be too easy and productive.

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