EDITORIAL: Ban on gun buy-backs is bad deal

2014-02-02T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Ban on gun buy-backs is bad deal nwitimes.com
February 02, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Indiana state Sen. Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville, can easily be called pro-gun.

He's the legislator who last year proclaimed, "I want to see Indiana become the Silicon Valley of the firearms industry." Senate Resolution 61 last year encouraged gun makers to move operations to Indiana.

His crusade this year takes aim at municipal gun buy-back programs like the ones held in Gary. Those typically offer gift cards or other rewards in exchange for guns, with the guns destroyed afterward.

Senate Bill 229, which would forbid that practice, was approved Tuesday by the Senate on a 28-21 vote. It now goes to the House.

Under SB 229, police departments would be required to auction or sell nearly all guns they seize or obtain, including guns used in crimes. The only exception would be any guns with obliterated serial numbers.

The proceeds from those sales would be spent on guns, ammunition or bulletproof vests for police officers.

"I'm not trying to micromanage local government here," Tomes said, despite his legislation that would prohibit local government from destroying guns at their owners' request.

Tomes' plan would allow buy-back programs and seizures only as a means to get cheap guns into the hands of people who want them — a redistribution of gun wealth, in other words. Buy-back programs as a means to destroy guns would no longer be allowed.

This goes against the wishes of police officials in cities like Gary who are trying to limit the number of guns in those communities.

This isn't a matter of restricting the right of a private citizen to buy a gun. The Second Amendment already addresses that.

The issue here is restricting the right of a private citizen to sell a gun with the intent that the weapon be destroyed.

Owning a gun is a big responsibility. A recent study showed people who lived in homes with guns were twice as likely to die of homicide and three times as likely to die of suicide. Any gun owner should be aware of those risks and act appropriately. For some, the answer might be to get rid of their gun entirely.

So if gun owners want to sell their guns to the police with the expectation that the weapon be destroyed, let them do so. SB 229 should not become law.

Let local government retain the right to decide whether to hold gun buy-back programs.

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