An Overlooked Effect of the Gun Buy-Back

Research findings on the effectiveness of gun buy-backs, fail to capture one element of the value proposition.  The evaluations show that buy-backs don’t buy back many crime guns or likely crime guns.  However the programs can add this value: marshaling the attention and some resources that otherwise would not materialize.  They can get people talking about changing, rather than just episodically lamenting, the problem.  This outcome was part of the initial buy-back in Boston in the 1990’s.

Thousands of influential people who could not otherwise identify with the gun terror in the inner city got a lens through which they could see. With what became Operations Cease Fire and Nite Lite at the head of the march, Boston mobilized to reduce gun violence. It gave people lunching at the Four Seasons a way to get behind changing what was happening in Four Corners. This was not a critical element. But it helped.  Such a mobilization could help again.



About stephenomeara

My name is Jim Jordan. I have had the privilege of working with the Boston Police Department and hundreds more departments over my nearly 30-year career in police administration and city government. I am now teaching and consulting independently at I have learned the best of what I know from the thousands of smart, dedicated and ethical police personnel and scholars who have guided me along the way. My address is named for the great Reform commissioner of the Boston Police at the turn of the 20th century. Commissioner O'Meara died just a short while before the Strike in 1919. He was replaced by a vicious puppet (of Gov. Coolidge) named Edwin U. Curtis. Had O'Meara lived events may have turned out quite differently.
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