New Jersey Considers Mandatory Gun "Buybacks"



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By Kurt Hofmann, October 1st, 2014
JPFO writer contributor, © 2014.

John F. McKeon

Assemblyman John F. McKeon, of the New Jersey state legislature, has recently submitted an op-ed to every New Jersey newspaper willing to publish it, hoping to drum up support for his bill, A 2895, which would require the state's attorney general to administer nine gun "buybacks" per year, throughout the state. He explains the rationale in his op-ed in

McKeon laments the high rate of "gun violence" in the U.S., and then blithely explains the reason for it: "It is incontrovertible that the reason is the sheer number of guns." So "incontrovertible," in fact, that there is apparently not even a need to present any backing evidence.

Since the "problem" is "the sheer number of guns," his "solution," of course, is anything to reduce that number.

One piece of the solution does not in any way [sic] Second Amendment rights. We know from experience that amnesty -- the return of illegal guns and buyback programs -- is effective [um . . . no, "we" don't] at taking thousands of weapons off our streets. In the period between December 2012 and April 2013, State officials and local authorities collected a record 9,000 firearms, including rocket launchers [almost certainly inert empty tubes, about as dangerous as a few feet of PVC pipe], assault weapons, and submachine guns [color me skeptical].

Keep in mind that although these events are called gun "buybacks," nothing is being bought back--guns are not returning to their original, rightful owners. No, the taxpayers are being forced to pay for guns nine times per year--only for those guns to be destroyed. Granted, the bill says that the program will be financed by asset forfeitures, but whatever forfeiture money goes to buying junk guns is money that won't be available for other state programs, which thus will be put on the backs of taxpayers.

The word "mandatory," in the context of gun buybacks, has more sinister overtones yet, conjuring the specter not of a mandate that the attorney general hold buybacks, but that gun owners participate in them. And actually, JPFO contributor David Codrea reports that the editorial board of at least one New Jersey newspaper has expressed a wish for precisely that.

If "buyback" is a misnomer for voluntary surrender of one's guns for cash or gift cards, it's an even more grotesque distortion of reality when the transaction is mandated. There can not be a "buy," after all, if no one is making a sale, and a "sale" which the rightful owner is required to make, forced by the (armed) power of the state, is no sale at all--it's armed robbery, even if the bandit generously gives his victim a few dollars for his trouble.

A comment left in response Mr. Codrea's article, by an individual who has given himself the charming handle of "WhiteslovetheKKK," tells us not even to count on the few dollars:

You republiKKKons should be happy we are even going to offer to buy them back. I like most real Americans hope there is no compensation and those who refuse should be put in prison and if they fight back, killed.

As sick as that is, it is not just some unhinged hatemonger's idle fantasy--The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (formerly the Legal Community Against Violence) has laid out what it claims is the Constitutional justification for gun confiscation--without compensation:

Laws banning dangerous guns—such as assault weapons—and large capacity ammunition magazines are not takings and do not require compensation. The Supreme Court and lower courts have long made a distinction between takings of property for public usage, which are takings, and legitimate exercises of state police power that result in a ban or limitation on property that is a threat to public safety or health, which are not takings.

Keep in mind also that the Obama administration's National Institute of Justice has concluded that the only way for bans of "assault weapons," and "high capacity magazines," to be effective is in conjunction with mandatory buybacks.

One little discussed aspect of gun buybacks is that they probably bolster "crime gun" statistics used to frighten the public into accepting more draconian gun laws. As a retired police commander told JPFO, most so-called "crime guns" have had nothing to do with crime. In fact the "crime gun" gun label is applied to every gun that enters "police custody," even momentarily. Guess who administers these "buybacks." Yep, that's hundreds, sometimes thousands of guns entering "police custody" at every "buyback"--scores of thousands per year. They then become "crime guns," and thus help justify laws that make it more difficult for decent citizens to acquire life and liberty preserving firepower.

If the government wants to "buy" your guns, tell them the price not in dollars, but in blood--and make it higher than they can afford.

A former paratrooper, Kurt Hofmann was paralyzed in a car accident in 2002. The helplessness inherent to confinement to a wheelchair prompted him to explore armed self-defense, only to discover that Illinois denies that right, inspiring him to become active in gun rights advocacy. He also writes the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column. Kurt Hofmann Archive.

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