Just hours after 155 people were slaughtered by gun-wielding terrorists in France, residents of Greensboro, North Carolina were asked by that city’s police to “show their commitment to safety” by turning in “as many guns as they want.”
According to Greensboro’s Fox affiliate, residents were invited to visit the Destiny Christian Center to sign a “Pledge of Non-violence” any time between 9:00 a.m. and 3 p.m. The first 1,000 signatories were promised a “small gift.” Participants 18 years or older were encouraged to turn in whatever firearms they could find – no questions asked.
In January of last year, Police Chief Ken Miller boasted that crime had reached “the lowest rate it has seen in decades,” according to the Greensboro News & Record. Although this is an encouraging trend, Greensboro’s crime rate—particularly with respect to violent offenses – remains substantially higher than the national average.
Encouraging citizen disarmament – particularly through a method that would reward firearms theft – might bring about a modest enhancement of “officer safety,” but it would do nothing to improve the personal security of the city’s law-abiding residents.
Gun turn-in and “buy-back” programs are examples of what Dr. Edward J. Laurance, an academic who has worked closely with the UN’s Register of Conventional Arms, calls “micro-disarmament” — or, more to the point, civilian disarmament. The expression “buyback” assumes that government has a monopoly on the use of force, and that only duly authorized agents of officially sanctioned violence should be permitted to own guns and other weapons — and thus the State is taking back from commoners a privilege to which they’re not entitled.
There may be little practical value to such initiatives, but they do have some value as propaganda exercises. This is demonstrated by the annual ritual in Rhode Island called the “Toy Gun Bash” in which local children – brow-beaten by teachers, politicians, and parents foolish enough to listen to such people – are asked to line up and feed their toy guns into the maw of the “Bash-O-Matic,” a device described by the Boston Globe as “a large, black, foam creature with churning metal teeth and the shape of a cockroach spliced with a frog.”
The purpose of the event, explains the Globe, is to “raise awareness of the dangers of playing with guns, real or fake…. [It is] a version of the gun buyback program in which adults trade firearms for gift certificates.”
Gun “buyback” and turn-in programs are a common feature of military occupations, both here and abroad. U.S. military personnel in Haiti, Somalia, the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan have employed that tactic. The same approach was used during “Manifest Destiny” to disarm American Indians as they were cattle-penned on reservations: Indians were frequently required to surrender their firearms in order to receive promised rations and annuities.
Over the past decade, UN-aligned activists in several countries have staged events in which guns confiscated from civilians have been destroyed in large public rituals. This is in keeping with UN-promoted disarmament dogma (expressed most forcefully in its 2000 agitprop film Armed to the Teeth) that the only “legal” weapons are those “used by armies and police forces to protect us,” and that civilian ownership of firearms is “illegitimate.”
During the horrifying terrorist siege on November 13, four men armed with AK-47 rifles and grenades stormed into a concert hall and began systematically murdering unarmed and defenseless people. Police arrived on the scene quickly, but waited for two hours before staging a counter-attack. During that time, 115 people were killed in a tragedy that offers a dramatically different object lesson than the one taught at events like the one staged in Greensboro, North Carolina less than a day later.