Listen to our announcement and interview on our podcast with Ian Johnstone, Co-Founder of Gun By Gun. Read more about his organization and the upcoming National Gun Buy Back on December 16th below.
From October 1996 – September 1997, the Australian government enacted a buyback program, among other reform measures, that collected around 650,000 guns. Even though Australian’s rates of gun deaths were already decreasing when the policy changes were made, firearm homicide rates have declined as well as firearm suicides. Given the history of mass shootings in the United States, this may have you wondering if such a program could work in America as well.
In 2013, Ian Johnstone and Eric King decided to stop wondering and start working, so they founded Gun By Gun to work to prevent gun violence in the United States.
In the face of continuing Congressional inaction, GunxGun has been working with local groups to organize and facilitate gun buyback programs across the country. At one of their programs, community members are able to anonymously trade unwanted firearms for compensation and then the local Police force safely destroys what has been collected. As Fall 2017, they have had 7 successful campaigns in 5 cities and recovered over 2,500 guns.
It may seem counterintuitive for an organization to work with the local police force to pay citizens for firearms, especially for those that may have been obtained illegally. However, the most important component of the program is that it allows an option for the surrender of those illegal guns. There is no other space like it. All accepted guns must be in working condition and are compensated in a way that discourages a long-time gun owner from taking advantage of this system in order to profit.
Gun By Gun’s website cites the Australian program as inspiration, but also realizes that the United States cannot simply adopt the same program and expect the same results. The organization is doing continual research in order to guarantee that the data exists in order to support and improve their program.
Following the Las Vegas shooting, Millennial Politics reached out to Gun By Gun to push the idea of a National Gun Buy Back. After the Las Vegas and the Texas Church shooting, we realized that the timing was right. This December, Gun By Gun is continuing their history of thinking big and inspiring action by hosting the first ever national gun buyback program. On December 16th, cities across the country will be holding simultaneous programs to help get guns off the streets and make communities safer. Their website has a map of locations where the buybacks are taking place, however, even if you cannot be there in person, they are also collecting donations. According to the website, every $100 donated helps to take one gun out of circulation.
Do you have questions about their work? Want to sponsor a gun buyback in your own? Inspired to donate? Visit their website for more information and resources. Gun By Gun isn’t letting gridlock in Congress hinder their campaign against gun violence, and neither should we.