Authorities in Boston, Mass., continue to tout a program offering gift cards worth up to $200 in exchange for residents’ firearms – despite the fact that this year’s participation rate is thus far limited to one individual.
During 2014, the buyback program succeeded in convincing the owners of 410 guns to take the city up on its offer.
With two-thirds of 2015 in the past, the program has led to just one recovered firearm so far this year. As the Boston Herald noted, violent crime has increased during the same period.
Prior to three gun-related deaths on one night earlier this month, non-fatal shootings in the city were already up 43 percent over the past year.
“The gun buyback’s numbers clearly aren’t on the same level as the guns taken a year ago,” Boston Police Department spokesperson James Kenneally acknowledged.
He made no indication that the program might be suspended, however.
“As long as there’s funding,” he insisted, “it’s an option we can provide to community members.”
Of course, buybacks are not the only method police have for reducing the number of guns in the city. Kenneally explained roughly 400 firearms have been taken from suspects during regular police activity, which is basically on par with the department’s 2014 numbers.
With the dramatic dip in buybacks, however, the overall number of guns claimed by Boston authorities this year is set to be about one-third lower than last year.
A number of Herald readers questioned the validity of buyback programs in general, with some suggesting they exist only to give citizens the false impression that such efforts result in safer communities.