Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Gun Buyback: Good Enough?

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Gun Buyback: Good Enough?

Article excerpt

City officials and community organizers seem to agree: Last month's gun buyback program in St. Louis was an undeniable success. And they're right, mostly. After collecting more than 800 handguns and rifles in a single afternoon at the Omega Center, program directors should be proud. More specifically, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and other groups that raised the $125,000 to pay for the program should be proud.

It is important to remember, however, that this initiative was a response to the 205 murders that occurred in St. Louis last year, the highest number the city has seen in two decades. It was the belief of Mayor Lyda Krewson and others that taking guns off the street will lower the rate of gun violence. But there's more to it than that. It's about taking the right guns from the right people.

Due to the no-questions-asked nature of the buyback, it's tough to gather a comprehensive profile of its participants, but two things are clear. First, some of the guns came from people who did not live in the city. For example, the Post-Dispatch talked to Kent Oxman, who came to the event looking to sell a dozen guns, even though he works and lives in St. Charles County. Second, and perhaps a more obvious point, these aren't the right guns. These were unused guns that came from dusty attics and old garages, not from the hands of criminals.

Put simply, county residents aren't flocking to the city to murder people with old guns. It is unlikely that the city will see a significant dip in the murder rate this year, at least not because of last month's efforts.

None of this is to say that the buyback was a failure. It did one thing: It sent a strong message that St. Louisans are ready to get serious on the issue of gun violence. Sadly, the same can't be said for the state in which they live. The people responsible for the buyback the people who put up flyers, spread the word, raised money these people have been failed by Missouri politics. …

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