3:31 pm Dec. 19, 20122
Back in March, New York Police Department commissioner Ray Kelly responded to a City Council grilling on stop-and-frisk by asking members what they'd do to address gun violence.
He raised his right hand and said, preemptively, "Don't tell me a gun-buyback program."
The point he was making is that gun buybacks alone aren't enough.
But the department does consider them worthwhile as part of a broader strategy, having conducted gun-buyback programs since at least 2002.
Now, the idea is gaining in popularity in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, as a means of diminishing the stockpile of weapons that are already out there, which wouldn't necessarily be affected by restrictions on gun sales going forward.
According to a congressional report released in November, there were 310 million non-military guns in America as of 2009. ("[T]he civilian gun stock has roughly doubled since 1968, from one gun per every two persons to one gun per person.")
Rep. Jerry Nadler today called for a federally funded buyback program to "help remove the current stock from circulation and should be part of any effort to reduce gun violence."
Earlier this week, Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, State Senator Adriano Espaillat and other lawmakers gathered in front of City Hall to ask for the private sector to step forward and help fund additional buyback programs they hope to hold throughout the city.
On Monday, a Times editor wrote that paying "market value, or more" could potentially reduce the stockpile of gun in the country "significantly."
I contacted the NYPD to ask about gun-buyback programs here.
Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Paul Browne emailed the following:
"Since the program’s inception in 2002 there have been 7,360 guns turned in for $100 each at police stations in the five boroughs. In the NYPD program with clergy and DAs that followed there were 8,394 guns turned in to police at churches for $200 each; for a total 15,754 from both programs combined."
He didn't say anything specific about the administrations plans for gun buybacks in the future.