Ginther’s Gun Buyback Was Just More for the Cameras
COLUMBUS, OH – Andy Ginther’s gun buyback program yesterday was heralded as a huge a success by the media and Mr. Ginther. But you would be hard pressed to find any reputable and legitimate gun violence research firm or agency in the country that will claim gun buybacks help to reduce gun violence or take illegal guns off the streets.
A total of 143 shotguns and long rifles were turned in. These are rarely used in criminal activities in Columbus, where hand guns are the weapon of choice. Only 201 handguns were surrendered to CPD, a number so small as to likely not even equal a drop in the bucket in a city of 908,000 people. Added to this, how many of these firearms were operable? Did people trade them in because they did not have the resources to sell them on the open market? Did they trade them in because they knew they could make more money from the buyback than from selling the firearms themselves? And how many officers were involved with this event and taken away from patrolling their Zone and protecting neighborhoods?
Admittedly, any gun off the street is a step in the right direction but how many criminals are we supposed to believe brought in their illegally owned firearm, or one that was used in a crime, to surrender to CPD?
The reality is that the answers to gun violence in Columbus is, contrary to Mayor Ginther’s belief, not going to be found in a minuscule number of firearms bought back from law-abiding citizens. The answers are also not going to be found in throwing blame toward the statehouse or parents. Instead, we need long term social, economic, and educational investments in our youth, families, and neighborhoods. Appropriate prosecution and consequences by our judges and prosecutors for violent offenses. Stop ignoring non-violent offenses. Support law enforcement, community policing, and programs that utilize private residential citizen-owned cameras to monitor high crime areas. Street level crime prevention programs that utilize respected community mentors who work directly with our youth. And more emphasis on eliminating drug trafficking are ways that will help.
Andy Ginther has given away over $600 million in tax abatements that should have been invested in our schools, he bulldozes homeless encampments, he has worsened our affordable housing crisis, and failed to move the needle on violent crime at all during his time in office. This event was nothing more than a sad PR event to try to appear to do anything during an election year in which homicides are again reaching record levels, while simultaneously hiding from public debate for his candidacy where he would have to stand and answer for his lack of actual substantive answers to crime in our communities.
My administration will return Columbus to sensible investments in families, policies, and places that make us a community, and begin to unravel years of failed leadership by Andy Ginther that has focused on fattening the bank accounts of developers, corporations and special interests.