A growing number of calls to ban assault weapons and enact strict gun control are gaining more and more support. Now some 2020 presidential hopefuls are pushing for a nationwide gun buyback.
And some say they might be able to pull it off.
Fox News reported that former Vice President Joe Biden recently called for a “national buyback program” to get firearms “off the street.” When asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper about if would be taking away people’s guns, Biden responded, “Bingo! You’re right, if you have an assault weapon.”
These calls for swift action follow quickly after deadly massacres in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio claimed the lives of more than 30 Americans. But as some politicians aim to come down harshly on legal gun owners, others are pushing back.
“What you see the Democrat candidates are doing is they simply want to demonize firearms and they’re coming up with the same old failed policies that haven’t worked in the past,” said Erich Pratt, the president of Gun Owners of America.
These are the 2020 Democratic candidates that have pushed for the buyback initiative, along with other measures to combat gun violence.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, former Obama administration official Julián Castro, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock are all in support of a national gun buyback program.
“Yes, I think it’s a good idea,” Gillibrand said in an interview.
Bernie Sanders took a harsher approach.
The federal government must ban assault weapons and implement a buyback program to get assault weapons off the streets.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 5, 2019
Some played it off as not being a mandatory buyback, but still supported the idea.
“I think we should have voluntary buybacks,” Governor Bullock said. “Let’s look at this as a public health issue. I don’t support a mandatory buyback.”
One candidate looked at previous attempts at something like this and concluded that it might not make a difference in gun-related deaths.
“When I was mayor, there were a couple of cities that did that and it wasn’t considered effective,” former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said.
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Baltimore, Los Angeles and Boston have tried programs like these before, but experts say it’s not been effective at reducing crime.
But whatever the case… all of them are missing a MAJOR hole in their logic. All a buyback would do – be it voluntary or mandatory – the only guns that will be turned in are from legal gun owners who are following the law and doing as they’re instructed.
Beto O’Rourke Says He’s ‘Open’ To ‘Mandatory’ Gun Buybacks https://t.co/vAbw8KJxq7
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) August 6, 2019
This ignores every criminal in possession of an illegal weapon. This ignores the countless guns that are not on listed registries. This even includes the Americans who will choose to ignore this mandate and instead look to the Constitution for guidance.
Eugene Volokh is a professor at UCLA. He says that it’s common sense that a gun buyback would just leave guns in the hands of the dangerous people who have them now.
“The people you’re most worried about — criminals — they’re either not going to turn in their guns, or if they do turn in their guns, they’ll turn in some old broken down guns, get some money for it, and buy a new gun,” he said.
Assault weapons don’t belong in our communities. Period. As president, I’ll ban these military-style weapons and institute a buyback program that gets as many as possible off our streets. https://t.co/25ie9qBiSC
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 10, 2019
When we take away the guns, the only ones left are in the hands of people who want to enact harm.
Our new Plan to Disarm Hate:
✔️Prioritizes the threat of white nationalist terrorism
✔️Funds programs to prevent extremism
✔️Bans assault weapons & high-capacity magazines
✔️Creates a buyback program
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) August 9, 2019
It’s also a financial issue, some argued.
With the buyback program, money needs to be allocated to pay to get all of these guns off the streets. So where does that come from?
“If you’re going to have a buyback, you have to pay people money, and then presumably most of these buybacks the government tries to destroy those guns and so it’s spending money and not getting any money in return,” Volokh said.
A group pushing for gun control says that candidates need to pull back on talks of confiscation and instead push for more common-sense legislation.
“Presidential candidates are talking about a number of policies to address gun violence in America,” said a spokesperson from Everytown for Gun Safety. “What Americans are demanding now is for the U.S. Senate to pass legislation to require background checks on all gun sales and a federal Red Flag law. Those need to be the Senate’s first priorities.”