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Backfire? Woman turns in 9 mm at Baltimore gun buyback — to get cash for a bigger weapon


Program aimed at getting firearms off the streets could instead serve as avenue for taxpayer-funded upgrades

Image source: WBFF video screenshot

Baltimore city leaders launched a $250,000 gun buyback program with the goal of getting firearms off the streets and out of homes. But one woman, who was turning in her 9 mm handgun, told local WBFF-TV that she was just planning to use the cash to buy a bigger weapon.

What are the details?

A WBFF news crew stood outside the Shake and Bake Family Fun Center on Monday, while citizens filed into the building to anonymously exchange their guns for cash at the first of three buyback events held by the city this month.

As a reporter interviewed folks approaching the entry, several explained they were turning in their guns to make sure the weapons didn't eventually end up in the wrong hands; others said they didn't need a firearm and would rather have the cash, and one woman told WBFF she was just hoping to make an upgrade.

WBFF journalist Katherine Cairns tweeted a picture of Darlene (whose last name was not shared in the reporting), a resident sporting sunglasses and flashing her pistol to the camera, with the message, "One woman shows us the 9 MM she is turning in for the Baltimore City Gun Buy Back program. But she says she is using the cash to get a bigger weapon!"

"It's a small, little baby," Darlene said while showing off her handgun during a video interview. When asked what she planned to buy next, Darlene replied, "Oh, I dunno, I haven't quite decided."

Conducting the first half of a trade-in isn't the only opportunity in this gun buyback.

In a piece labeling Baltimore's buyback scheme as "comically bad policy," Daniel Mitchell from the Foundation for Economic Education noted that the city's offering to purchase "hi-capacity" magazines for $25 a pop, which means residents could turn in old magazines for a profit — or even purchase two brand-spanking-new 30-round mags with the proceeds.

The city is offering $100 for long guns or revolvers, $200 for semi-automatics, and $500 for any fully automatic weapons. The firearms do not need to be in working condition. All guns collected will be destroyed.

Anything else?

According to WBAL-TV, Baltimore's last gun buyback was six years ago. But as the city's annual homicide numbers threaten to surpass 300 for the fourth year in a row, Mayor Catherine Pugh said in a news conference last week that bringing back the program was part of an effort to reduce the city's crime record.

The Baltimore Sun quoted Pugh as saying, "We are coming toward the end of the year and we are doing everything we can to stay under a certain number, but I don't even want to talk about that."

During the same news conference, a WBFF reporter pointed out that "statistically, people have done research that some people say that these gun buyback programs are ineffective. That essentially you might be getting grandpa's gun out of the attic, that you're not getting them out of a drug dealer's hands."

Pugh responded: "I think there are all kinds of studies that say all kinds of different things. Our point here is, there are guns on the streets of our city. We are signaling folks out there, we don't care if it's grandpa's gun or your gun, we want it."

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