I contend that the purpose of the programs is primarily symbolic, to delegitimize gun ownership and armed citizens, to condition the public to the idea of the legitimacy of turning guns over to the government and of the government destruction of guns.
Guns Turned In at Recent Phoenix Gun Turn In Event
In an article from the Times Herald, Carl Rotenberg writes:
Academic studies of gun buy-back programs have concluded they are ineffective at reducing gun violence in the limited number of communities where they are held.
Criminals rarely turn in guns used in crimes, and if they do turn in one gun, they keep other guns, the studies show.
The guns turned in at anonymous gun buy-back programs are either old or generally of poor quality.
But the major problem with gun buy-back programs is that the relatively small number of guns collected by these programs does not materially reduce the large gun stock in the U.S. or even keep up with the annual increase in American gun ownership.
The major problem is not that these programs do nothing to reduce crime. Rather it is the use of official resources to directly attack a fundamental, constitutionally protected right, without using the legitimate process of calling for an amendment to the Constitution. By attacking the Constitution in this way, directly contrary to their oath of office, officials are severely undermining the rule of law.