Policy debates regarding the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms are at an all-time high. Apparently the city of Santa Ana, California is seeing the benefits of getting guns off of the streets, as authorities held the municipality’s first ever gun buy-back on Saturday.
For handguns and rifles, police were offering $100 gift cards to retailers such as Target and Walmart. For assault weapons, citizens received $200 gift cards. There was a maximum of $300 in gift cards per car. Police remarked that the weapons received in the buy-back would be destroyed.
Many gun owners were enticed to give their guns to authorities for the monetary value of the gift cards. Others felt it was the right thing to do, to ensure that the weapons could never fall into the wrong hands, especially in the wake of recent gun violence including the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting and the Christopher Dorner case.
The Orange County shooting spree on February 19th further influenced local authorities to hold this event, as the city followed Los Angeles, and Compton which have both held buy-backs in recent months. L.A.’s event led to over 2000 firearms being taken off the streets, while Compton’s yielded nearly 400.
While there is no simple answer to the gun control issue in the United States, it is clear that policy actions need to be taken. Gun buy-backs are a voluntary way to reduce the number of weapons in the hands of civilians. It is not very controversial, due to the voluntary nature, and many municipalities have deemed it useful. More action, however, needs to be taken to ensure that deadly weapons do not reach the hands of violent criminals.