Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Gun 'buyback" Briarpatch

Congressman Donald M. Payne Jr. (D-N.J.-10), has recently reintroduced "The Safer Neighborhoods Gun Buyback Act" (pdf).    It is the same bill as one that was filed last year.  I have written about the bill, HR-4278.   It makes no economic sense, for the Nation as a whole, and it will not reduce crime an iota.  It has little chance of passing.   But on close examination of what the bill actually does, it is a  "briar patch" that  Second Amendment Supporters might not mind being thrown in.  We are far past the point where there is any sense or connection between the money raised for the Republic by taxes, and what is actually spent.  From congress.gov:
(a) In general.—In conducting the grant program authorized under section 101, the Director may reserve such funds as may be necessary to acquire and distribute smart prepaid cards to eligible entities that receive grants under this title. The Director shall distribute the smart prepaid cards without any funds loaded onto the cards.

(b) Market value of guns.—The Director shall determine the market value of each gun that the Director determines should be included in the gun buyback program and make such information publicly available.
For those who do not understand the cultural reference, the 'briar patch' was where Br'er Rabbit begged Br'er Fox not to throw him, because that is where he wanted to end up.

The bill would allocate over a billion dollars, spread over three years,  to be spent on buying firearms at 125% of 'market value'.  That sounds as though a lot of money would go to gun manufacturers, gun shops, and Second Amendment Supporters.  Quite a bit would likely end up there.  No more than 15% of the funds are allowed for 'administration' and another 10% is allowed to fund programs to 'recycle' guns and ammuntion,  so at least 75% of the the money should go to the purchase of guns.

The BJA would be required to determine what the 'market value' of firearms are.  If they have to determine the market value for most common firearms they likely would use common references, such as manufacturers suggested retail prices (msrp) found in the Gun Digest.  Those prices are already high compared to the real market; 125% of that would be a significant profit margin for people who want to upgrade their firearms.

Some state governments are requiring local governments to sell or use guns that they confiscate or gain possission of, in order to stop the wanton destruction of valuable assets.  This program would get around that requirement by allowing dealers to buy the guns with grant money and then turn the guns over to the BATF.  What a massive SNAFU such a situation would make at the BATF offices.  The program does not allocate any money to the BATF to recycle the guns, so they would have to beg the BJA for it as part of the 10% allocated for such purposes.

Perhaps an innocuous amendment to the bill could be added by a congressional Second Amendment Supporter to the effect that "accessories and parts" could be salvaged and recycled by local governments or dealers.

This would allow dealers or individuals to remove all valuable parts from an AR clone for example, and turn in the stripped lower receiver to obtain 125% of the msrp for that model.

Another possibility is to 'recycle' guns to local shooting clubs or schools for use in gun training programs, or to encourage new hunters, and pay them part of the 10% 'recycling' money to have their storage and range facilities upgraded.  That might be allowed under some state laws that forbid the destruction of valuable property.

There you have it.  A briar patch that sends a billion government dollars into the gun culture.

It will never make it through Congress.  I could be wrong.  We have seen many absolutely stupid and irrational programs funded by Congress, and we have seen a complete lack of real budgets or any budget discipline for the entire reign of the Obama administration.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

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