Gun Buyback Programs Gain Traction After School Massacre

From Bridgeport to Los Angeles, gun buyback programs are gaining traction with politicians and gun owners — even if they don’t forfeit all their firearms — in the weeks since 20 children and six educators were shot to death in Newtown, CT.

Forty members of Congress, led by Democrats Gerry Connolly, of Virginia, and Ted Deutch, of Florida, have sent a letter to Senate and House leaders seeking $200 million for a gun buyback effort as part of any fiscal cliff deal. They estimated the money would get as many as a million guns off the streets.

In Bridgeport, Connecticut, almost all of the money to buyback guns in the area has been funded by private donations. City officials say they plan to hold the event every weekend until the money runs out, with more than 200 guns having been collected in the first two days.

Gun buyback programs have been politically popular in urban areas, but a 2004 study by the National Academies‘ National Research Council found that the programs aren’t effective in reducing gun violence.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, gun sales have surged nationally as enthusiasts rush to purchase weapons out of concern of possibly tighter regulations ahead.

The FBI has recorded 16.8 million instant background checks so far this year. In 2011 — a record year — the FBI conducted nearly 400,000 fewer.

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