Caddo Parish policy wins some, loses some
While one local media outlet rated Caddo Parish’s buyback of guns a “success,” by definition this effort failed for taxpayers.
Recently, the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s office, the Caddo Parish Commission and the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s office jointly sponsored such an event, which offered as much as $300 for the most lethal weapons and collected 41 weapons, consequently handing out 61 gift cards worth $3,050 in exchange. The no-questions-asked policy permits anonymous donations of firearms in an effort to get illegal guns off the streets, and the parish promises more of this to come.
Instead, authorities should drop the whole feel-good idea and save taxpayer dollars. For more than three decades, various jurisdictions have sponsored such events, allowing for numerous opportunities to evaluate this policy’s effectiveness. And the data conclude it does next-to-nothing to create positive critical outcomes.
Overall, the number of gun-related homicides does not change significantly as a result of a buyback program. In large part, this has to do with the profile of those participating not matching that of the population segment that owns guns, much less that of the characteristics of the typical miscreant who commits gun crimes. Nor do the guns bought back usually fit the profile of firearms used in crimes – if these work at all, as often the large majority of weapons turned in no longer function correctly.
In the face of the overwhelming research indicating little-to-no impact, proponents now try to justify such programs on a political basis, saying that they bring more attention to gun control. But to restrict firearm carry and ownership is the last thing communities need as research has shown, both in popular and academic circles despite repeated awkwardly failing attempts to debunk it, that, if anything, reduced gun control leads to less crime.
In short, the program only serves as a propaganda vehicle to look like parish authorities address violence. This lacking any substantive impact, regarding this issue taxpayers deserve to have their resources spent in ways that really matter.
By contrast, Caddo might provide guidance to Shreveport for the city to develop a workable program getting City Council member Stephanie Lynch to attend the body’s meetings and, if showing up, to act in a civil manner at all times. As 2016 closed, Lynch received unfavorable publicity in local media concerning her inability to attend most meetings of part or all of the Council since her arrival in 2015 while all the while faithfully depositing her salary paychecks. To make matters worse, she responded belligerently to her critics, even using profanity in media reports.
City ordinances nor the Council’s rules levy any punishment on habitually absent members, which if existed might prod Lynch to break her truancy habit. Some of her colleagues averred publicly that they had given the matter some thought, but in January no one brought up any instrument that would penalize excessive absences by a member of the Council.
It’s time that they do so, and here Caddo has a model. Its Commission may levy penalties up to wiping out a commissioner’s salary for non-attendance. Tellingly, Lynch’s did not miss an absurdly-high number of meetings when she served on that body. A little tough love for her might make her start doing her job to represent her constituents in formal matters dealt with by the Council.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 11:55