Rep. Gabrielle Giffords suffered a catastrophic gunshot wound and several others were killed at the hand of an over-armed gunman, an effort to destroy unwanted guns and keep them off the streets is torpedoed by a soft-on-crime governor and legislature.
Associated Press: Arizona cities and counties that hold community gun buyback events will have to sell the surrendered weapons instead of destroying them under a bill Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law Monday.
The bill was championed by Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature who argued that municipalities were skirting a 2010 law that was tightened last year and requires police to sell seized weapons to federally licensed dealers. They argued that destroying property turned over to the government is a waste of taxpayer resources.
Democrats who argued against the bill said it usurps local control and goes against the wishes of people who turn over their unwanted weapons to keep them out of the hands of children or thieves.
Buybacks are popular among some police and elected officials who either pay cash or hand out gift cards in exchange for weapons. Tucson and other Arizona communities destroyed weapons from the events, arguing that because the guns were voluntarily surrendered, the laws concerning weapons seized by authorities didn’t apply.
Apparently, some people had trouble understanding the word "seized." Oddly enough (this being Arizona, after all), a lot of the legislators probably support "English-only" legislation. It’d be easier to take them seriously if they actually understood the language themselves.
Of course, they do understand the language -- or at least, most do -- and the misunderstanding of the legal definition of "seizure" is deliberate. They’re arguing that a word means something other than what any legal dictionary will tell you it means as a pretext to undermine gun buybacks. But why on Earth would anyone oppose destroying guns that no one wanted in the first place?
There are a few reasons I can think of. None of them are good; at least one is simply childish and the rest are plain corrupt.
We’ll start with the childish. You may have noticed a certain contrarian streak in conservative thought. It’s the idea that if liberals are for it, it must be bad. It’s the jerking knee. There are people out there who deliberately waste money burning more fossil fuels than they need to on Earth Day, just because they think it makes liberals mad. Dickish, yes. But "dickish" and "conservative" are practically synonyms these days.
But that only explains why legislators in Arizona think passing this brainless law is fun. People don’t pass practical jokes as laws. What’s really behind this is what’s always behind conservative lawmaking -- money. Specifically, putting profit before every consideration in the world; before public health and safety, before the advice of law enforcement, before common sense. They do these things because someone will make a buck and -- just like loosening environmental or safety regulation at the bidding of big business -- they don't give a damn who gets hurt.
The first beneficiaries would be the arms dealers. Gun buyback programs generally bring in a lot of firearms and it’s likely those resellers would get a deal on them, just to get them out of the police impound. The profit potential could, in many cases, be tremendous.
The second beneficiaries would be arms manufacturers. Used guns do not use used bullets. Some handgun that’s been laying in a drawer since Uncle Ralph died is never going to be reloaded, unless it’s stolen. While gun buybacks are meant to reduce the number of stolen firearms on the street, most neglected guns aren’t stolen. And that means that every gun out there that some Aunt Sally just wants to be rid off represents a lifetime of lost sales. And if she gets rid of it at a gun buyback, that gun is destroyed and any chance of related sales are destroyed with it.
But someone who buys a used gun? Yeah, they’re planning on using it -- and that means they’re planning on loading it. Which means a couple of boxes of ammo to go with their newly purchased firearm -- and a couple more when those run out. Ka-ching! Those sales are lost no more.
Of course, it’s inevitable that some of these firearms that would otherwise be destroyed will be used in the commission of crimes. But you can’t make an omelet without shooting a few eggs in the face, right? Which is more important, the fate of some random, faceless prole or the profits of arms manufacturers? I mean really, what are you, a communist? When it comes to a choice between reducing crime and increasing profits, the gun lobby’s puppets will cast the soft on crime vote every time.
I’d hope that actually making it illegal to get guns off the street would be about the worst, most shameless law the pro-blood money could come up with. But I’m sure they’ll come up with something even more ridiculously evil down the road -- selling pistols out of vending machines in high schools, maybe. For now, it is the worst, the most corrupt, the cruelest gun law in the country.
[photo by M Glasgow]