WaPo Reports on D.C. Gun Buyback, Fails to Raise Critical Questions

Any time a major newspaper reports on gun buyback gimmicks, the reporter penning the story would do well to explore practical as well as ideological criticisms of such a program. After all, gun buybacks do virtually nothing to prevent criminals from gaining access to weapons, and absolutely nothing to cause criminals to part company with their weapons. As such, the money spent on these programs is a waste of money and police resources, something that's especially true when the guns being discarded are owned by people who reside outside the jurisdiction running the program. Yet that was of no concern to reporter Delphine Schrank in her December 16 piece in the Washington Post, "Police Net 279 Firearms with Buybac." Schrank's 16-paragraph article sounded like a press release for the city's Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), painting a win-win scenario with the gun buyback. An eeeeevil handgun is turned over to be destroyed, and the owner gets a fistful of spending cash:

For $100 and the prospect of some cash in hand for Christmas shopping, Levaun Dicks marched into the basement of Union Temple Baptist Church in Southeast Washington yesterday and handed a police officer a plastic bag containing a loaded 9mm Makarov semiautomatic pistol. "It was lying in my dad's shed," said Dicks, 31, of Fort Washington, who was recently laid off from a real estate company. "It wasn't needed, and I need the money." Dicks was among scores of Washington area residents to participate yesterday in the D.C. police department's gun amnesty program. Held at three churches -- officers had hoped the non-threatening setting would lure people who might be intimidated by having to head into a police station -- residents were offered $100 for assault-type rifles or semiautomatic pistols, $50 for revolvers, derringers, shotguns and rifles, and $10 for air, BB and pellet guns. The buyback netted 279 firearms yesterday in return for $14,450.

Fort Washington is a suburb southeast of the District in Maryland. Later in the article, Schrank dutifully passed along MPD's politically correct pablum about getting guns off the street (emphasis mine):

As in the past, police took the guns with no questions asked. They planned to test-fire them and gather ballistics evidence. Investigators will determine whether the guns can be linked to any crimes. Guns that have been cleared will be destroyed. "We don't really expect people involved in criminal activity" to hand in their weapons, said [police Commander Joel] Maupin, who heads the 7th Police District in Southeast. "But every weapon we get is one less that could be used against an owner or anyone in the street. It's important to get any weapon off the street." Maupin said the majority of buybacks were from citizens who had little use for their firearms.

Yet most of the citizens Schrank talked to lived outside the District itself. The Post reporter noted four individuals who turned in guns, three of whom came from District suburbs in Maryland. The residence of the fourth was not made clear by Schrank's reporting.Of course, that's of little concern when your aim is presenting the grinchy, anti-2nd Amendment District government as a Sarah Brady-friendly Santa Claus (emphasis mine):

Handing over a 12-gauge shotgun and a shopping bag bulging with ammunition, Wanda Brooks, 56, of Oxon Hill also said she felt uncomfortable having a weapon hidden in a closet within reach of seven roaming grandchildren. The gun had belonged to her partner, who used it to hunt before he died last year. A police officer handed her a $50 bill. She looked at it a moment and, with a smile, said, "I'm going to buy a Christmas tree."
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters