It’s My Turn
For several years, gun buyback programs have become a popular solution to reducing gun violence in urban neighborhoods.
Residents in high-crime neighborhoods in cities, from Los Angeles to Newark and even right here in Far Rockaway, are being offered money, no questions asked, for the trade-in of firearms.
Many politicians say that these programs work and are beneficial to the communities they serve.
However, it has been proven through various studies that gun buyback programs do not actually help reduce gun violence.
More often than not, guns that are old, broken and useless are the ones being bought during these events. The more valued weapons are still on the street.
Yes, criminals might be motivated to sell their guns for the financial incentive and this might help reduce violent crime but many times the ones who sell their guns are not criminals.
They may actually be gun dealers or enthusiasts trying to get a profit for unused weapons.
There may be dozens of solutions to end gun violence but politicians and activists in the community should not focus solely on gun buyback programs, considering that they do not work.
In the Rockaways, gun violence has been occurring at alarming rates in certain communities.
A more holistic approach is needed in order to bring results.
Youth mentoring, community education and alternative to violence programs are often overlooked as serious solutions. Considering that it costs $100,000 to run local gun buyback programs, that take place annually, a peermentoring program in the Rockaways would cost less, reach the neediest population and produce longer-lasting effects.
Let’s not forget that it is people, not guns, who shoot other people and to stop criminals from shooting others we need to spread the message that violence is just not okay. It is easy to sell guns, as it is to buy them on the street.
There needs to be an effort in preventing people from using guns as a means to an end.
If we can change minds, we can save lives.
We can only achieve this by thinking outside the box and stop using temporary solutions on the epidemic of gun violence.