Gun Buybacks: Double Down or Save Taxpayer Cash?

By Salam Fatohi

Revolver gun money iStock-1060256694
Recently, Pew Charitable Trusts explored gun buyback programs and their ability to reduce crime IMG iStock-1060256694

U.S.A. -( Recently, Pew Charitable Trusts explored gun buyback programs and their ability to reduce crime. A “gun buyback program,” or GBP, is a local government program that purchases unwanted firearms. The premise that the government is purchasing “back” privately-owned firearms is nonsense because the government never owned them in the first place.

Firearm manufacturers and importers are the point of origin for the vast majority of firearms in the United States. The U.S. government does not manufacture firearms, and buying them back is simply feel-good marketing. Suggestions otherwise are intellectually dishonest.

This clever promotional scheme is made more problematic since the programs exclusively use taxpayer dollars to fund such initiatives. When considering the fact that GBPs only began in the 1970s, the fiscal impact to tax-paying citizens over the decades is material.

Sounds Good, But…

At first glance, buying guns so they don’t end up on the street and used in the commission of a crime seems like a noble cause. However, the problem with this exercise is that the firearms purchased are largely from low-crime cities, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) study.

The NBER research states, “Our findings provide compelling evidence that U.S. GBPs have been ineffective at deterring gun crime, firearm-related homicides, or firearm-related suicides in the short- or long-run.” Even more troubling, the same research also found a small increase in gun related crime after a gun buyback due to the perception that there will be less law-abiding citizens with firearms to defend themselves.

The data is clear that GBPs do not prevent or reduce firearm-related crime, homicides or suicides and may, in fact, increase crime temporarily. GBPs are a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars when unwanted firearms can be voluntarily surrendered at any time and at no cost to police. Furthermore, the firearms bought back through a GBP are not those typically used in crime, and about 25 percent are not in working order.

Don’t Double Down

Pew Research also reports suggestions have been made to increase GBP financial compensation to incentivize criminals that would otherwise not participate. Knowing that the buybacks do not prevent crime, and in some cases may embolden criminals, it is irresponsible to frivolously squander government funds at an even larger scale on a program that patently does not produce results.

Tax dollar impact aside, some GBP advocates even suggest following the “Australian model” of GBP, which refers to the late 1990s national gun confiscation conducted by force. This move would destroy the tenets of the Second Amendment for a promise of a reduction in gun crime that will never come to be.

Wasteful government spending may be in vogue but doubling down on the compensation for surrendered firearms knowing full well it will not reduce crime or disarm criminals is ridiculous. A better use of those taxpayer funds would be supporting and funding firearm safety courses for firearm owners. Incentivize firearm safety and proficiency with those same funds. With over 14 million new gun owners in the past two years, it is imperative to encourage and provide firearm safety to everyone eager to learn rather than throw money at a disproven solution that benefits no one.

About The National Shooting Sports Foundation

NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations, and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit

National Shooting Sports Foundation

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We already have an effective ‘gun buy back’ program for unwanted guns. It is called the national network of Federal Firearms Dealers. If you have an unwanted gun you can turn it over to a FFL for a price. If it is scrap he or she can destroy it for you. Progressives are trying to raise all kinds of money to ‘buy back’ unneeded or unwanted guns. The more money they waste on that fools errand the less money they will have to fuel their propaganda mills. Let them do so. My response is to take my unwanted bar and… Read more »

Qui Bono?

Gun “buybacks” are an utter waste of taxpayer money and police resources. Show me any empirical evidence that such efforts have any effect on reducing violent crime. Better to spend that money on more police training, or on training more civilians in safe firearms use.

Captain Sloog

The current administration would fail my background check.


they would fail any real background check, problem is commies run the check so it is as fake as it can be


Did NICS ever get back with a PROCEED for the transfer of those real weapons of war to the Taliban???? Or did Slo Sniffy Joey just go ahead with the transfer after three days on that DELAYED check.???
Have Tee, “I refuse to be lectured on gun control by an administration that armed the Taliban.”….available from


I just noticed the revolver in the picture is using Phillips head screws? I don’t believe I ever seen that before on any firearm. Think they are replacement screws?


You’re right. Very odd looking. And, IMHO, Phillips Head screws are only marginally better than slotted from just about any perspective. In any modern firearm, I’d have gone with a Torx. In a more traditional piece, I’d just leave the slotted screws alone.


My Hi Power came with phillips screws on the grip panels new from the distributor. Drove me nuts, l ordered slotted screws from Brownell’s that same day and pit the old screws in the box.


Roverray, I agree, having a firearm with Phillips head screws would have driven me nuts too. It would really make a firearm look cheap, in my opinion. I only have slotted and torx type screws on all my firearms.


The clowns in the government never owned your guns so a buy back is total crap . Best to sell them to them for 14 million each or no deal . Sorry clowns you don’t have enough funds to purchase a single weapon of mine .