With the number of guns in circulation in America (at least 300 million) it is unlikely that taking 1,000 or 2,000 off the streets would make an immediate difference in the crime rate. But that is not what should be measured.
As public health leaders have pointed out, guns are a leading cause of death for children and teens, second only to car accidents. Gun buybacks are catalysts bringing clergy, youth, parents, and police together to talk about the impact of guns, and provide a safe avenue to get rid of guns that may have been obtained in fear, anger, or for purposes of retaliation.
We have to address why young people might not feel safe in their neighborhood or in their school; and that’s another reason to be at the same table to devise and implement comprehensive strategies. Prevention, intervention, and enforcement are all needed.
The writer is cofounder of Citizens for Safety.